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Dead Cicada Killer Wasp from Dardenne Prairie, MO

Sightings Category: Cicada Killers

Dead Cicada Killer Wasp from Dardenne Prairie, MO

Finally! After two months of searching, I found a cicada killer! However, it was dead when I came across it. I found it lying in a parking lot while searching for cicadas in the middle of the night.

At least now, I have an approximate location of where to start hunting for them.

Date Posted: 2011-07-21 Comments: (9) Show Comments Hide Comments


Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2011-07-21 | Website:

Hey Bill,

Yes you found the Eastern Cicada Killer wasp known as Sphecius speciosus. From the look of this specimen, it is a male. We can tell this by the abscense of the large tibial spur that would be located on the hind leg. It probably mated with a female and then died. What you need to do is search for mounds of dirt close by where you found this male which would indicate a cicada killer female burrow. Hopefully too, if you're lucky there will be a lot of them. Keep me posted.

Posted By: Bill Meyers | On: 2011-07-23 | Website:

Yesterday afternoon, I searched the area around where I found the dead cicada killer. No luck finding the female burrow.

However, the burrow might be on the other side of a large fence that separates the parking lot from a privately owned 5-acre plot. I'll try to get the owner's permission sometime soon to search on his property for the female cicada killer's burrow.

I'll keep you posted as to my progress.

Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2011-07-23 | Website:

Hey Bill,

It is possible that that male could have blown in and fell off of the front grill of a car also. So don't worry too much about it.

It's been my experience that where there is one cicada killer burrow there would be more in the same location.

Posted By: Dave Moyer | On: 2011-07-24 | Website:

We have three active killer burrows in back yard. Bees are HUGE! But have not been agressive. Live in central pa. Thought chipmunks were digging, til we saw bee come out of hole. Hopefully they are harmless to humans, cause if they sting, it WILL leave a mark!!

Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2011-07-24 | Website:

Hi Dave,

Technically cicada killers are wasps and not bees. Cicada killers are really a docile wasp. The males don't even have stingers. The females do but they are not a menace to people. The only way to get stung is to accidentally sit, step on or squeeze one in your hand.

Below is a link to an article I wrote a few years back. It shows me handling a male cicada killer wasp.

It would probably be prudent to take a photo of the wasps in question just to verify you are seeing cicada killer wasps. Other burrowing wasps do sting and are quite aggressive.

Posted By: Bill Meyers | On: 2011-08-06 | Website:


I finally got permission to inspect the privately owned 5-acre plot near where I found the Sphecius speciosus cicada killer. I didn't find any burrows on the property.

So, I think your hypothesis about the cicada killer wasp having been nailed by a car and temporarily stuck to the car's grill makes a lot of sense. Upon thinking about where exactly I found him, I found him lying between a cement parking block and the curb - exactly where a car's grill would have been if a car had parked in that spot!

Also, your theory would go long way in explaining his slightly crumpled and damaged wings, the broken antenna, and the missing legs.

So, I believe you have hit the nail on the head with your theory.

Excellent hypothesis, Gerry!

Also, that still gives me a lot of hope in finding some female cicada killer burrows nearby. I am hopeful because the pool is only for use by that neighborhood's residents and their guests. Ergo, there's a high probability that the car which had the cicada killer stuck to it came from somewhere nearby.

Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2011-08-07 | Website:

Hey Bill,

If you are on the hunt for cicada killer burrows, try to find open areas that have sun a good part of the day. Sandy soil seems to be a preference - at least from the CK's i find here - and ideally the open sunny areas should be surrounded by trees.

Parks and cemeteries believe or not are great places.

Posted By: george | On: 2011-08-16 | Website:

My yard is full. Of these things! I just found out what it is and I don't like them. I'm allergic to stings and these guys get way to close for comefort. I'm in cape Girardeau, mo.

Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2011-08-16 | Website:

Hi George,

I would suggest you read this page here:

The females are non-aggressive towards humans and the males don't have stingers. Just have a look at the above article.

Of course it is always good to confirm that you do indeed have cicada killers. You can always grab a photo and report it here:

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