Cicada killer wasps in Idaho mistaken for giant hornets

MOSCOW, ID. — If you thought you’ve been seeing northern giant hornets in Idaho, you thought wrong.

Researchers from the University of Idaho responded to reports of giant hornets, which are known for their powerful sting and decimation of honeybee colonies. After investigating, they found out that people confused it with the cicada killer wasp.

Despite its name, the cicada killer wasp isn’t as aggressive as it sounds.

The insect resembles the giant hornet but is “docile and beneficial.” They help control pests and pollinate flowers. The wasps have black abdomens with yellow bands and orange-tinted wings, and they also have smaller torsos and heads than giant hornets.

“Cicada killer wasps are bigger than the standard wasp and make a loud noise when flying around,” Thomas said. “People are afraid they’re going to get stung, but they’re not highly aggressive.”

Giant hornets have not been found in Idaho to date. However, giant hornets were seen in northwest Washington in May 2020, as well as in southwest Canada.

Click here to learn more about giant wasps.

RELATED: Climate change could make stink bugs more common in the Inland Northwest