Understanding the Cicada Killer Wasp in Texas: What Homeowners Need to Know

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on February 16, 2023 · 3 mins read

If you live in Texas, chances are, you’ve seen a cicada killer wasp (Sphecius speciosus) buzzing around your backyard during the summer months. While these large wasps may seem intimidating, they are actually quite docile and play an important role in our ecosystem.

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 two inches in length. They have black and yellow coloring, similar to a yellow jacket, but are much larger and have a distinctive reddish-brown tint on their wings. Females are larger than males and have a stinger, but they are not aggressive towards humans unless provoked.


Cicada killer wasps are named for their habit of hunting cicadas. The female wasps capture cicadas and bring them back to their nest where they lay their eggs on the paralyzed cicada. The developing larvae feed on the paralyzed cicada, eventually emerging as adult wasps the following summer.

While cicada killer wasps are not aggressive towards humans, they can be intimidating due to their size and loud buzzing sound. If you see a cicada killer wasp in your backyard, it’s best to leave it alone and give it plenty of space. They are unlikely to sting unless provoked or threatened.

Dealing with Cicada Killer Wasps

If you’re concerned about cicada killer wasps in your backyard, there are a few things you can do to discourage them from nesting on your property:

  • Keep your lawn well-maintained and avoid overwatering, as cicada killer wasps prefer dry soil for nesting.
  • Fill in any bare patches of soil in your yard, as cicada killer wasps prefer to nest in exposed soil.
  • If you see a cicada killer wasp nest in your yard, the best course of action is to leave it alone. The wasps will only be active for a few weeks during the summer months and will not cause any harm to your home or family.

In extreme cases, you may need to call a pest control professional to remove a cicada killer wasp nest. However, this is rare and usually unnecessary.


Cicada killer wasps may look intimidating, but they are actually beneficial insects that play an important role in our ecosystem. By learning more about their behavior and habits, homeowners can coexist peacefully with these fascinating creatures. Remember, if you see a cicada killer wasp in your backyard, it’s best to leave it alone and enjoy watching it go about its business.