Life Cycle

Cicada Killer

Cicada Killer

Dogday cicadas emerge from the soil during the heat of the summer - the dog days of summer. The harvestfly name came about because some crops are being harvested at the time of their emergence. Once they emerge, they mate and lay eggs. The eggs hatch and the nymphs feed on the sap in tree and shrub roots from two to five years. When fully grown, the nymphs emerge from the soil, climb a tree, building, or other upright object, and shed the exoskeleton that protected their body and wings while tunneling up through the soil. By pumping body fluids to the thorax area behind the head, the thorax swells and splits the exoskeleton. This allows the adult to emerge. Once free, fluids are pumped into their wings causing them to unfold and expand. Once the wings are fully extended, the cicadas let them dry before they fly.

Birds and other predators, including humans, feed on dogday cicadas. One of the more noticeable predators is the cicada killer. This is a large wasp that catches the dogday cicada. After catching and stinging the insect to paralyze it, the cicada killer carries it back to its hole and drags it underground to a chamber where it lays its eggs in the paralyzed cicada. When the eggs hatch, the wasp larvae feed on the paralyzed, but still living, cicada.

The damage done to a tree by the dogday cicadas is not significant enough to justify trying to control the cicada. Let nature take its course. As for the cicada killer, leave it alone and it will leave you alone.