Are Cicada Killers Hornets?

a wasp killing a cicada on the ground


The sight of colossal, flying insects around the home can be highly concerning, especially for families in Alabama. Among these massive winged pests are cicada killers, which look a lot like the Northern Giant Hornet (formerly Asian Giant Hornet): the “murder hornet” that grows up to 1.5 to 2 inches in size and stings and kills around fifty people each year in Japan. 

Luckily, you won’t find the murder hornet in Alabama, just the cicada killer. Still, now that you know about their resemblance, you might wonder: Are cicada killers dangerous to people, too? Are cicada killers hornets or wasps? How can I get them out of my house and away from my property for good?

Today, we’ll dive into the world of cicada killers, explore the differences between them and Northern Giant hornets, and share our expert advice for Alabamians dealing with these insects.


Are Cicada Killers Hornets or Wasps? 

First, it’s essential to recognize that every type of hornet is a wasp, but not all wasps fall under the hornet subtype. Cicada killers are wasps but not hornets, despite their resemblance to the Northern Giant Hornet.


Are Cicada Killers Dangerous to People?

After reading about the lethal potential of murder hornets, you may want to know if their similarities to cicada killer wasps go beyond just resemblance.

Fortunately, if you spot a cicada killer wasp, it is not lethal to humans. Cicada killers can look quite scary, growing to be up to an inch long, but they have no desire to go after humans unless their nest is threatened. As their name suggests, the chosen prey of this type of wasp are cicadas.


How Can I Get Cicada Killers Out of My House?

If you are ill-fated with the horror of ginormous cicada killers infiltrating your property or home, it can be challenging to initially get rid of them. 

Cicada killers are smart and sneaky, but don’t give up hope. We know from firsthand experience how horrible these creatures can be and have had to devise an effective, homemade solution. 

First, you ought to know what attracts cicada killer wasps to your home. Cicada killers are attracted to bright lights, so a porch light can invite them to your home. If you don’t wait for them to fly away before opening your front door, they’ll often fly right in.

If they’re not already in your home but lurking around your front porch light, go inside through another entrance (like the back or side door), turn off the front door porch light, and wait until they fly away before entering. 

If it’s already too late and one has found its way inside your home, this is where you’ll need to get rather creative with solutions. Fortunately, cicada killers are generally not aggressive toward humans, but a careful approach is essential for successful removal. 

Follow these steps:

  1. Dim the Lights: Start by turning off all indoor lights to set the stage for a controlled exit strategy.
  2. Strategic Lighting: Gradually lead the cicada killer to an unused room by turning on lights one at a time, creating a pathway toward the chosen room.
  3. Patience Is Crucial: Be patient as the cicada killer moves from one illuminated area to the next. Cicada killers are alert and can detect movement, so avoid provoking it.
  4. Progress Gradually: Continue this process until the cicada killer enters the selected room. Once inside, keep the overhead light on.
  5. Seal the Room: Close the door to the room and block potential escape routes by placing a towel along the floor gap.
  6. Exercise Caution: Do not open the door for the rest of the day or night, depending on when the encounter occurred.
  7. Retrieve the Deceased: The following morning or evening, open the door and locate the now-deceased cicada killer. Its intense attraction to light will have kept it in the room.

Your Partner in Pest Control

Wasps and hornets are stubborn pests to deal with, so if you are dealing with an infestation of cicada killer wasps—or any pest that is interfering with your comfort and safety—call our team of experts at Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Co. We can safely eliminate the presence of these nuisances and implement solutions for both short and long-term prevention.

Our team has proudly served families in Alabama since 1965, and we would love to help you, too! Call us at 205-663-4200 or contact us online today to learn more about our affordable, highly effective pest control solutions.