Sand Wasps/Cicada Killer

Crabronidae: Bembix spp.; Sphecious speciosus

Wasps Fact Sheet: English, Spanish.

Bembix sand wasp

Bembix sand wasp (Howard Ensign Evans, Colorado State University,

Cicada killer

Cicada killer (Jessica Louque, Smithers Viscient,

Cicada killer

Cicada killer with cicada (Ronald F. Billings, Texas Forest Service,


  • 3/4 - 1 5/8 inches long
  • black wasp with yellowish markings
  • some have bright green eyes
  • no hairs

Nesting Habits

  • solitary, but often nest together in favorable sandy sites in the ground (not in colonies)
  • favorable sites are often areas of bare sandy areas


  • nectar, pollen


  • nests pose a minimal health risk to humans
  • can give a painful sting but wasps are not aggressive

IPM Recommendations

  • Monitor for burrows or aggregations early summer - fall.
  • Purchase and use a bee veil, suit and gloves.
  • Eliminate nesting habitat by renovating bare soil areas with turf or other cover.
  • Eliminate sandy areas.

Additional Resources

IPM for Stinging Bees and Wasps: Integrated Pest Management in Sensitive Environments (University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension)