Mud daubers are best known by the general public for their infamous nests that are made of mud. They are a type of nonsocial, or solitary, wasp that belongs in the Sphecidae family. Mud daubers have been given their common name by their habits of using mud to build their nests along the walls or surfaces in protected areas like porch ceilings. Although the “made of mud” nests are unique enough, mud daubers become a particular nuisance because of the damage that’s caused from the nests that are scraped off the outside of homes. Mud dauber nests can actually ruin the aesthetics of a building which is why, although they are not very defensive, many homeowners will want to get rid of them immediately.
There are three major species of mud daubers that homeowners may come across. There are only minor differences between the three species that are physical and even biological; however, all three species of mud daubers will remain extremely similar in their appearance. Many people will be able to easily identify them from their stalk-like abdomens that are very long and slender in shape. Although other species of wasps are also long and slender, mud daubers are especially long and are actually a dark colored bunch that has either clear or very dark wings. They will grow to be anywhere from 12 – 25 mm in length and some mud daubers will even grow larger than that. The three representing species of mud daubers are the organ pipe mud daubers, black and yellow mud daubers, and the blue mud daubers.
- Organ Pipe Mud Daubers: Organ pipe mud daubers are the smallest of the three representative species of mud daubers growing to be just 13 mm long. They are uniformly black in color and do not possess any type of patter or color on their bodies.
- Black and Yellow Mud Daubers: The black and yellow mud daubers are much larger in size than the organ pipe mud daubers. They can grow to a staggering 28mm but will usually remain about 14-25 mm in length. They are identified by their dull black color with yellow legs and a yellow “stalk-like” abdomen.
- Blue Mud Daubers: The blue mud daubers are unique and the easiest to identify because of their exotic metallic blue color. Although the shades of blue will vary between blue-green or a blackish color with a metallic blue hint, the blue is undoubtedly identifiable compared to the other two species of mud daubers. They will range in size from about 12 to 18 mm.
Behavior of Mud Daubers
Many people will agree that mud daubers are not something that many people will be able to see with a pleasant eye. However, despite their frightful appearance, mud daubers are quite harmless and are simply considered a nuisance pest rather than a pest with high threat potential. This is mainly due to the reason that mud daubers are not aggressive insects and do not have the tendencies to defend or guard their nests. However, keep in mind that although they possess a docile nature, they do possess stingers and will utilize them when they are handled in an aggressive manner.
Most homeowners know mud daubers for their notorious nests that are made of mud. You will be able to find the nests of mud daubers in protected areas. Some of the most common places a mud dauber nest can be found are places like on the porch ceilings, under the eaves, inside attics, in garages, in sheds, and etc. Of course, mud daubers will find these locations attractive to build a nest in because they allow for natural protection of the nest.
Unlike their cousin bees or some species of wasps, mud daubers do not pollinate flowers or other plants. They will generally feed during the larval stage. Mud dauber larvae actually feed on the paralyzed spiders that the female mud dauber has stored inside the nest in solitary cells.
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