Mud Dauber

Category:

Actual Size: 1”

Characteristics: Yellow or black; very thin waist. Easily identified by their nest.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Construct nests out of mud. Tubes are about 1” long and constructed side by side under eaves, porch ceilings, and more.

Habits:

  • Mud daubers live for about one year and go through 4 life stages
  • Mud daubers rarely sting, but can sting repeatedly
  • Mud daubers are a common predator to spiders, including black widows

Mud Daubers in The North Bay and East Bay Area

Mud daubers are unique wasps that are solitary and build nests out of–you guessed it–mud. Nationwide, there are many types of mud daubers and they are most common in the summertime here in the Bay Area. It’s most known for its unique nest that can look like an organ pipe. Likely the easiest way to identify a mud dauber is their appearance–mud daubers have a thin, thread-like waist that separates its abdomen and thorax. It’s also mostly darker and color than other social wasps, with less distinctive markings. Mud daubers also differ in that they are not aggressive as other wasps and will rarely defend their nests.

Mud Dauber Habitat

Mud daubers build cylindrical nests that look much like an organ pipe. These nests consist of short mud tubes constructed side by side, and are most often located in shaded areas like porch ceilings, under eaves, or in sheds and barns. The female mud dauber is the one who constructs these unique nests. She will collect spiders, paralyzes them with her sting, and then places them inside mud chambers within the nest. She deposits an egg on top of one of the spiders in the chamber before sealing it.

A single nest can contain as many as 25 eggs. The larval wasp hatches and feeds on the spiders provided, molting several times before pupating and transforming into an adult wasp. When nests appear to have round holes on the outside, this is an indication the wasps have emerged and the nest is inactive. Even when this is the case, it’s still important to avoid approaching a wasp nest.

Mud Dauber Behaviors — Threats — Dangers

There are four stages of life for mud daubers: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Their life span is about one year. Mud daubers are not known to be very aggressive and will rarely defend their nest. These wasps are beneficial insects as they reduce spider populations. Although mud daubers aren’t dangerous, they can still be a nuisance when they are nesting in or near your home. It’s important to stay away from nests found in or near your property. Always contact a licensed pest control specialist for assistance when it comes to handling wasps.