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Ground Hornets

What Do Ground Hornets Look Like?

picture of a ground hornet
At nearly two inches in length, ground hornets, or cicada killers, are one of the largest wasps in New England. These pests look similar to yellow jackets with black and yellow striped bodies and reddish-brown wings. Only females have a stinger, which is actually an ovipositor that she uses to deposit eggs.

How Can I Tell if I Have a Ground Hornet Problem?

Digger wasps, like the ground hornet, often infest lawns rather than buildings. Some signs of cicada killers include:

  • Burrows – After mating, the females dig burrows into the ground and lay their eggs inside, later filling it with cicadas for larvae to eat.
  • Ground Activity – If you see a ground hornet crawling into a small hole or emerging from loose soil, the area may be a nesting site.
  • Aggression – Male ground hornets are territorial and become aggressive if they feel threatened. The cicada killer may pursue perceived enemies with a dive-bombing attack.

How Do Ground Hornets Get Inside Homes and Businesses?

If you worry about these pests inside your house, know that they probably won’t be there long. The ground hornets eat nectar from plants and prey on cicadas to feed their larvae. These wasps typically enter homes by mistake, and you’re more likely to find them in your backyard.

Businesses with a large amount of land or green space are more prone to ground hornets. Some examples are golf courses, parks, campgrounds, and sports fields. The pests burrow in exposed areas with soft dirt or sand and prefer to nest close to trees and shrubs where cicadas live.

Is a Ground Hornet Dangerous?

Although they seem intimidating due to their massive size, ground hornets are only hostile if provoked. The females do not readily attack people, but rather use their stingers to paralyze prey. However, those who are allergic to stinging insect venom should seek medical attention as soon as possible if stung.

Even though they usually keep to themselves, multiple ground hornets can nest in the same area. This makes them a nuisance for business owners. These pests may scare away customers and clients, plus their burrows can be extensive, ruining turf and tearing up roots.

How Can I Prevent A Ground Hornet Infestation?

Since ground hornets nest in loose, dry earth, it’s best to keep grass watered. You can also plant grass or spread mulch over bare soil to prevent them from moving in. Cicada killer wasps can be dangerous and cause damage to your yard, so call Waltham Pest Services to consult with the pros.

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