Meet the Biggest Wasp in Texas: The Cicada Killer Wasp

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on April 06, 2023 · 2 mins read

Are you curious about the biggest wasp you’ve seen buzzing around your backyard? Meet the cicada killer wasp, the largest wasp species in Texas. While they may look intimidating, these gentle giants play an important role in our ecosystem as pollinators and natural pest control.

DIY Wasp removal recommendations

For non aggressive wasps I've had great luck spraying the nests with this Spectracide wasp remover in the evening. For more aggressive wasps I also use this rediculous looking upper torso Beekeeping suit. It seems silly, but trust me, it's amazing.


Cicada killer wasps are large, solitary wasps that can grow up to 2 inches long. They have a black body with yellow markings on their abdomen, legs, and face. Their wings have a rusty-red coloration, making them easy to spot in flight.


Despite their size and fearsome appearance, cicada killer wasps are not aggressive towards humans. Males can be territorial and may fly around in search of a mate, but they lack a stinger and pose no threat. Females have a stinger but only use it when threatened or provoked.

Cicada killer wasps are named for their unique hunting behavior. Females hunt cicadas and use them to provision underground nests for their offspring. They are most active during the summer months when cicadas are abundant.


Cicada killer wasps prefer sandy or well-drained soil for nesting. They often create burrows in bare spots of lawns, gardens, or other areas with loose soil. While they may seem disruptive to human landscapes, their burrowing actually helps aerate the soil and improve drainage.


If cicada killer wasps are present in your backyard, there’s no need to panic. These gentle giants are beneficial insects and rarely sting humans. However, if you are concerned about their presence, there are a few things you can do to coexist peacefully:

  • Avoid disturbing their nesting sites, especially during the summer months.
  • Cover bare soil areas with grass or mulch to discourage burrowing.
  • Provide alternative nesting sites, such as a designated area of loose soil away from high traffic areas.
  • Enjoy their presence from a safe distance and appreciate the role they play in our ecosystem.

In conclusion, the cicada killer wasp may be the biggest wasp in Texas, but they are also one of the gentlest. By understanding their behavior and habitat, we can coexist peacefully with these fascinating insects and appreciate the benefits they provide to our environment.