Despite its large size and fearsome appearance, the eastern cicada killer wasp is generally a Good Bug.
It preys on cicadas, which can damage trees. These wasps are generally shy, although they do have a tendency to hover over the burrows they dig in the ground. Sometimes large numbers of the wasps will nest in the same area, turning it into a veritable wasp airport.
One Bug Week staffer recalls a large colony of cicada killers nesting underneath a skateboarding half-pipe at a Gainesville park. The area was sandy and free of vegetation, and few people ventured back there because so many boards and cross-braces got in the way. On this particular morning there may have been two dozen cicada killers buzzing around their burrows, and eventually entering.
Being a bit foolish, this staffer batted down a cicada killer that strayed too close, then pinned the enraged insect to the ground with a pine branch long enough to display it to some kids.