Mud Dauber Wasp

Mud Dauber Mud Nest Wasp

Mud dauber is a common name for wasps that make their nests with mud. There are many different species of wasps referred to as mud dauber’s; some other common names are dirt daubers, organ-pipe wasps, mud wasps and potter wasps.

Appearance

Although their appearance varies, mud daubers generally are from ½ to 1 inch long. Mud daubers are colored either completely black or blue metallic. Some species have yellow or greenish markings on the body. Their body shape is referred to as “thread-waisted” with some mud daubers possessing an extremely long and thin body segment; located between the thorax and abdomen.

Mud Nest and Feeding Their Young

In the spring, the overwintering pupae develop into adults. The adult females begin building a new nest. After completing the mud nest; adults start capturing insects or spiders that are then placed into each mud nest cell. Eggs are deposited on the prey within each cell, and the cell is sealed with mud. The larvae that hatch from the eggs feed on the prey left by the adult wasp. Then they change into the pupa stage (cocoon) that overwinters.

Here is the interesting part, the prey isn’t killed, but stung and paralyzed before being placed into the mud cell. This is crucial because if the prey was dead, it would decompose and then become unsuitable nourishment for required larval development. Adults feed on plant nectar, honeydew and the body fluids of the spiders and insects they capture. At least two species of mud daubers are especially important since they are reported to seek out and capture spiders including black widow spiders!

Beneficial

Mud dauber wasps can actually be very beneficial since they help reduce the numbers of some pest insects and spiders. Also, they are not likely to sting.  But remember, it is never smart to approach their nests without using caution. If mud daubers become a problem and keep coming back, be sure to contact your pest management professional.