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Classifications of the Cicada Killer Wasp

By Karen Curley

Cicada killer wasps are bilateral insects, meaning their bodies are symmetrical. They are about 1.5 inches long, and have rust and black coloring. These solitary wasps, native to North America, use their large stingers to inject venom into cicadas, paralyzing the insects. Cicada killers carry the immobilized cicadas to their burrows and feed them to their larvae.

Scientific Classifications

Cicada killer wasps, also known as giant ground hornets, belong to kingdom Animalia and sub-kingdom Eumetazoa. They belong to phylum Arthropoda. Killer wasps are in the class Hexapoda and sub-class Insecta. Their order is Hymenoptera. They belong to the family Crabonidae and superfamily Apoidea. Their genus is Sphecius; their binomial name is S. speciosus.


Karen Curley has more than 18 years experience in health and nutrition, specializing in healthy food choices for families. She received USDA certification in food components, nutrient sources, food groups and infant/child nutrition, and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts. Curley is also an avid gardener, home renovator, Collie breeder, dog groomer and dog trainer.