Shantz, of Redfield, warns others about cicada killer wasps after vicious sting
On Sunday afternoon, August 2nd, at about 5:30p.m., Terry Shantz, of Redfield, was rushed to the hospital after a double sting from a cicada killer wasp.
Shantz was in the yard with his family in front of his daughter, Toni Glass’s house when he felt an itch on his back. According to Shantz, he couldn’t reach it, so he went to a tree to itch his back, then sat back down and began to cough. Shantz is allergic to bee and wasp stings, and unbeknownst to him, he had just been stung twice.
Shantz requested an ambulance when his lips began to swell up. He was rushed to the Redfield Community Memorial Hospital and airlifted to Avera in Aberdeen where he was intubated and placed on a ventilator. His throat nearly swelled shut according to his daughter, Kandi Shantz.
“I just want others to know about this,” said Terry’s daughter, Toni Glass. “Cicada wasps are not harmless.”
Terry was released to go home a few days later, but was readmitted to the ICU on Sunday night, August 16th, due to ongoing complications from the stings.
Shantz’s family is hoping to get the word out that locals should take into consideration the dangers of cicada killer wasps and carry an EpiPen on them at all times if they are allergic to stings.
Cicada killer wasps are very abundant this year in Redfield. They dig underground burrows and fill them with paralyzed cicadas, which they feed to their larvae. These wasps choose sites with specific characteristics, such as well-drained, light-textured soils in full sunlight that are near trees harboring cicadas. They also like to dig along sidewalks and patio edges, flower beds, gardens and lawns. To keep the wasps away, recommendations include keeping soil wet or moist (which creates an undesirable texture for the wasps). In a West Viriginia study, cicada killer wasps were controlled by spraying pyrerthroid insecticides directly into the wasps’ burrows.
Female cicada killer wasps have large stingers, which they force into cicadas to inject them with paralyzing venom. Generally, they are said to be non-aggressive when it comes to humans in their territory, but that wasn’t the case in Shantz’s experience. Male cicada killer wasps, on the other hand, lack stingers, but are very territorial.
Locals are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings and destroy any wasp burrows they may find.