By LINDSEY JOHNS
Alicia Watts started to worry when she noticed swarms of an unfamiliar insect in her backyard, according to a report by WIS. She kept her kids and dog inside, fearing the worst.
“I wanted to make sure that no one was going to get stung,” she said. “We wanted to find out what they were.”
At first, she thought they were Japanese Hornets after a neighbor falsely identified the bugs. “I called a couple of exterminators and about three of them said they wouldn’t even deal with the Japanese Hornets because they’re dangerous and then they just weren’t sure,” said Watts. “Some of them just didn’t know.”
After getting nowhere with the exterminators and a firm “it’s not our problem” from her homeowners association, Watts was losing hope that she’d ever get her backyard back again. “My dog enjoys being out here and we enjoy cooking out and we can no longer do that,” she said.
But, being the problem solvers they are, WIS came in for the rescue. They caught one of the bugs and sent it off to an expert at the Clemson University Extension Program. The expert, Dr. Don McInnes, determined it wasn’t a Japanese Hornet after all and identified the pest as a Cicada Killer Wasp.
Despite their name, Cicada Killer Wasps aren’t much of a threat to humans at all unless they are provoked. “They will sting if encountered aggressively, meaning if you pick it up, if you encounter it in your clothing, if you step on it,” McInnes said.
He went on to say that the Cicada Killer Wasps mostly keep to themselves. The males are the visual ones and all they are interested in is mating and battling over territories (eh, hem…sound familiar?).
So, although they are annoying, it looks like Watts will once again be able to use her hard without fear of being stung, so long as she doesn’t mind a little sex and fighting.