Meet the Things Tearing Up Yards in C.R. Neighborhoods
They can grow to more than an inch and a half in length and when they fly past you, they appear absolutely massive. Often they're called "killer wasps," but thankfully it's not people they're after.
The Ground Digger Wasp is perfectly named. These are a common sight in my Cedar Rapids neighborhood. Many times they're right along the sidewalk but I've seen more than a few in the middle of people's yards. They love dry soil and they're not even fazed by small rocks. They move 'em right out of the way.
Ground Digger Wasps are also known as Cicada Killers, which might explain why there seem to be so many of them this year. I swear I've never heard the cicadas 'sing' as loud as they are this year. This is one we captured on video last summer:
Ground Digger Wasps aren't a danger to humans as they almost never sting us. As a matter of fact, the ones that are most likely flying around you in your yard are the males, which actually cannot sting. Wikipedia says Male Ground Killer Wasps have no stinger. The females, use their stinger to paralyze and kill their favorite target, cicadas.
Those females are busy doing something else, too. If you have a dozen of their "nests" in your yard, don't panic. One female Ground Digger Wasp can build up to SEVEN, according to Terro. They use their jaws to dig holes as much as two feet (TWO FEET?!) deep, and their legs to kick it behind them. It creates a pile of dirt that looks like a massive ant hill. One big difference is the huge hole they leave behind.
The Ground Digger Wasp is one impressive insect that I'm still going to give plenty of space too. Just to be safe.