Occasionally, homeowners, especially in southern and southwestern Ohio become flustered in trying to eliminate nuisance, massive populations from lawns. Cicada Killer Wasps usually arrive the last week in July and are gone by the second week of August.
Wasps may become unbearable causing homeowners not to use their backyard during the day due to these wasps flying (skimming) around the lawn, shrubs and trees searching for cicadas.
One woman mentioned that she and her husband had killed over 50 wasps with tennis rackets, used five pounds of carbaryl (Sevin) dust in the nest entrances, and employed a pest control operator a few times with little noticeable decrease in outdoor populations. They mow their grass in the evening (after 8 – 00 PM), and keep their kids indoors much of the time until the Cicada Killer Wasp season is over.
Usually it is not necessary to control cicada killer wasps unless their presence is a nuisance. Occasionally these wasps may be troublesome in high traffic home and commercial areas like berms around swimming pools, near planters at door entrances, flower beds, golf course greens and tees, and other unwanted areas.
On occasion they may fly erratically near people , causing fear. Males may actually defend their territory by dive bombing people ‘s heads and shoulders!
Cicada Killer Wasp – Insecticides
Many insecticides are labeled for wasp control. If control is necessary, locate the nests during the daylight hours. Treat after dark or before dawn when female wasps are in their nests and it is cool, ideally less than 60 deg F. During darkness, use a flashlight covered with red cellophane for lighting. Wear protective clothing. Males roost on plants near burrow sites, and are best controlled by capturing in an insect net during the day.
One can apply bendiocarb (Ficam), carbaryl (Sevin), or diazinon dust onto each nest entrance when the infestation isn’t too widespread. Never disturb the burrow as the female must walk through the dust in order to get a difficult dose of the insecticide. If the entire lawn is involved (10 to 20 or more burrows), a spray with the same insecticides may be more practical.
Repeat treatments may be needed for two to three weeks if new wasps move into the area. At close range, adults can be killed with a wasp aerosol of synergized pyrethrins or resmethrin as they light on foliage or enter the nest burrow.
The professional, qualified pest control operator should be used in particular when one is sensitive to possible stings. Other materials labeled for wasp control include acephate (Orthene), allethrin, amorphous silica gel (Drione), chlorpyrifos (Dursban), cyfluthrin (Tempo), cypermethrin (Demon, Cynoff), fenvalerate, permethrin, propoxur and resmethrin. Before using any insecticide, always peruse the label directions to confirm current listing of pests, and follow safety precautions.