The discovery of the insect, which can grow as large as two inches in length, came late last year in a couple locations in Washington state, along with speculation that the native of Asia arrived in the U.S. stowed away in international agricultural cargo or through intentional and illegal release here. The adults range in size from 1½ to 1¾ inches in length for females and about 1 to 1¼ inches for males. The bigger threat is the potential devastation the hornets bring to honeybees. All rights reserved (About Us). Thanks for visiting PennLive. Both sexes are strikingly colored black, red and yellow which is similar to the warning coloration of common social wasps like yellow jackets which do possess painful stingers. Cicada killers are 1.5 to 2 inches long, predominantly brown or black with amber wings and yellow on their face and abdomen. The larvae feed on living insects that the females paralyze and carry to the underground nest. Please consider supporting our work. Cicada Killer Wasps: Gentle Giants - South Whitehall, PA - Cicada killer wasps look scary, but they are harmless. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (each updated 1/1/20). Contact Marcus Schneck at

Not a subscriber yet? We need your support. Males cannot sting, and females usually will sting only if they are grabbed in bare hands or stepped on with a bare foot. Note: Please understand that that insects do not adhere to man-drawn borders on a map as such they may be found beyond the general "reach" as showcased on our website.
Lucky for us, the cicada killer is not nearly aggressive as the Asian giant hornet, to honeybees or humans.

A group of 30 hornets can destroy an entire hive of 30,000 bees in less than four hours.

Buzzing around your Pennsylvania picnic table on the Fourth of July, the huge yellowjacket is actually a cicada killer wasp. The sting of the insect is big and painful. Cicada Killer Wasps have a thick-waisted black body that is striped with yellow across th…

Multiple stings can kill humans, even if they are not allergic. Bees, Ants, Wasps and Similar Insects of Pennsylvania Showcase listing of Bees, Ants, Wasps and Similar Insects found in the state of Pennsylvania. Lucky for us, the cicada killer is not nearly aggressive as the Asian giant hornet, to honeybees or humans.
The cicada killer larva hatches from the egg a few days after it was laid, eats the cicada and then over-winters in a hard cocoon. The area she chooses for the burrow most often is a spot with sandy soil, little vegetation and full sun. Sphex pensylvanicus, the great black wasp, is a species of digger wasp. The cicada killer, a large solitary wasp that looks like an oversized, pale yellow jacket, is relatively harmless to humans. The females, which can grow to two inches in length, live about a month, each one capturing and paralyzing by stinging as many as 150 cicadas over her life. Male cicada killers live only a couple weeks, time they spend patrolling their territories, battling with other males and mating. Identification of this insect is fairly easy just judging on size alone.

Figure 1.

Most will emerge as adults the following June or July. Asian giant hornet workers (Figures 1, 2) can grow to 1.5 inches in length and are similar in size to other wasps that occur in Pennsylvania and may be confused with Asian giant hornets. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. The Asian giant hornet is a significant predator of honeybees, which already are suffering from pesticides, colony collapse disorder and other attacks in the U.S. She digs a burrow for each cicada she paralyzes, forces the cicada into the hole and lays an egg on it. None of the non-native murder hornets have been found anywhere east of Washington state, more than 1,800 miles from westernmost Pennsylvania. Help fund crucial watchdog journalism. © 2020 Advance Local Media LLC. What people were seeing is not the Asian giant hornet — it is not in Pennsylvania — but the European giant hornet that also can grow to 2 inches and is similar in appearance. But we do have a stinging insect that grows just as large as the murder hornet right here in the Keystone State. Asian giant hornets are strikingly colored, with yellow heads, a black thorax, and yellow and black or brown striped abdomens.

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The native insects will emerge late next month into July across Pennsylvania. Two wasp species in Pennsylvania are often confused with Asian giant hornets. Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission. According to Washington State University entomologists, when attacking beehives, a single hornet can kill dozens of honeybees in minutes. Cicada killers colonize in well-drained, sandy soil that is exposed to direct sunlight. According to the Times, which appears to have been the first to label the insect as the murder hornet, the insects kill as many as 50 people each year in Japan.

It lives across most of North America and grows to a size of 20–35 mm (0.8–1.4 in). Giant Asian ‘murder’ hornets might be coming, and that’s probably as bad as it sounds, 15 common bugs in your backyard that will freak you out.

Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. Quality local journalism has never been more important. Asian giant hornet queens are big, large enough to be among the largest wasps in …

Murder hornets, which are more commonly known as Asian giant hornets, captured the attention of the media and online worlds over the weekend, following a report by The New York Times that the insects had been found in North America for the first time.