The mud dauber wasp is an insect in the wasp family that have their common name coined from the fact that their nests are constructed with mud. Typically, the mud dauber wasp is not a very defensive insect and will rarely defend their nest or sting. Therefore, they are merely a nuisance pest that will leave their unsightly nests behind on protected sites like porch ceilings, garages, and etc. All species of the mud dauber wasp can be found throughout the United States.>> Read More
There are three representative species of the mud dauber wasp. Although there are some slight physical and biological differences, the three species will remain very similar in physical appearance. Adult mud daubers are about 12 - 25 mm long and some mud dauber wasp adults can grow bigger than even 25 mm in size. They are characterized from other wasps by their long and slender body. Their abdomen is very slender or "stalk-like". They are a dark colored group of wasps that have clear or dark wings.
Most organ pipe mud daubers are about 13 mm long. They are identified by their black color. Organ pipe mud daubers do not have any pattern or other color on their bodies. This species of the mud dauber wasp makes long mud nests that are provisioned with spiders inside them.
Black and Yellow mud daubers are much larger than organ pipe mud daubers and will range in size from 14 - 28 mm. They are a dull black color with certain parts of their bodies that are bright yellow in color. They make short tubes for their mud nests that are provisioned with spiders. The nest tubes are then plastered over with more mud.
Blue mud daubers are about 12-18 mm in length. The shades of blue vary but most species are typically a metallic blue, blue-green in color, or blackish with metallic blue hint and have bluish wings. Blue mud daubers do not make their own nests. Instead, they are dependent on the nests that black and yellow mud daubers construct. Blue mud daubers will clean out the nest and discard all the contents inside and then add their own spiders and eggs.
Mud daubers are actually solitary insects. They are not social and are not a part of a colony. Female mud daubers construct their nests out of mud, hence their name, mud daubers. Single tubes or cells are constructed side by side and a nest can have several tubes that complete an entire nest. Each tube is about 25 mm long but the size of the nest will depend on the species. Each cell or tube is provisioned with spiders. These spiders have been caught and are not completely dead. Instead, they have been paralyzed with the venom of the mud dauber female. One egg is deposited on the first spider of each cell and eventually, the entire nest is plastered with more mud. Once the female has finished constructing the nest, she will move on to another location and repeat the nest building behavior. Mud daubers will overwinter as full-grown larvae. It only takes a few weeks to develop into a full grown larvae, however, they will not pupate until the spring season. They pupate in the spring and emerge from their nest shortly after. Therefore, if there is a nest with holes, that will probably signify that the nest is old and the mud daubers have already emerged and abandoned that nest.
Although mud daubers may have a frightening physical appearance, mud daubers are actually just considered a nuisance pest. They do not defend their nests like some other species of wasps or bees. They do possess a stinger, however, they will only use their stingers if they are handled aggressively. They select sheltered sites to build their nests which allows for natural protection. These areas are places like under the eaves of the home, on porch ceilings, inside sheds or attics and garages, and etc. Mud daubers do not pollinate flowers or such, instead, the larvae feed on the paralyzed spiders that have been stored in the cells of the nest.
Mud daubers do not defend their nests and also do not use their nests unless they are handled. Also, mud daubers can be seen as beneficial because they help with the control of spiders. Regardless of these circumstances, if there is a mud dauber nest near or in areas where there is human activity, mud daubers should be removed. If the nest is unfinished and there is a female mud dauber present, an appropriately labeled pesticide will kill the mud dauber. Aerosol sprays will work well to get rid of the female mud dauber. Once the female mud dauber is killed, the nest should be removed as well. You can use a type of scraper or putty knife to scrape the nest off the wall or post. For prevention, a residual liquid insecticide that is micro-encapsulated will discourage future activity of mud daubers in that area. Regular treatment should be enforced to maintain prevention.
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