Mud Dauber Wasp
Sphecidae or Crabronidae spp.
Facts About Mud Dauber Wasps
Mud dauber wasps are black-bodied insects that sometimes have pale markings or a metallic sheen. Unlike other wasps, the mud dauber is not social, and does not live in a colony. Of the many kinds of wasps, the mud dauber is probably one of the least dangerous, so now would be a good time to take a deep breath if you’ve found them on your property. There are few documented cases of mud dauber stings, and by nature these wasps are not aggressive. Given their relatively low maintenance nests, mud daubers can be found throughout the United States.
Mud Dauber Wasp Stings
Mud dauber wasps are typically non-aggressive species of wasp, with almost no documented cases of stings. Even in known incidents of nest-destruction, the mud dauber wasp remains relatively calm and relocates quickly rather than attack the destroyer. Despite this fact caution should still be used when dealing with a mud dauber wasp nest, as their sting may cause swelling and redness
Mud Dauber Wasp Infestation
While some consider them an annoyance, others might be inclined not to exterminate them as they help keep spider populations down around their nests. This may be especially beneficial in areas where the species of spiders are dangerous to humans. For instance some variations of the mud dauber search out and hunt black widow spiders, an arachnid with a venomous bite dangerous to humans.
Types of Mud Dauber Wasps
Mud Dauber Wasp Identification
Mud dauber wasps have thin, elongated black bodies and wings about the size of their body. They also have a somewhat bulbous stinger and large, arching hind legs. Most are black with bluish or grayish markings, but other subspecies can be seen with yellow streaks along the legs and bodies.
Commonly described as: mud wasp, dirt diver, dirt dauber or dirt dobber
Nesting Habits & Signs of Infestations
The mud dauber wasp likes to make its home in elevated areas, but unlike many of its social wasp relatives, this wasp constructs nests from mud. The female mud dauber wasp rolls mud into a ball and transports it to a typically dry, high place to build its home. With the mud dauber wasps we again see a tendency of this wasp to build its habitats near homes and other man-made structures.
The nest itself tends to be smaller in scope compared to other colony-based wasp nests, but can still protrude greatly from the sides of buildings. Nests are most easily identified by their cracked/dried mud texture, as well as the many holes burrowed into the sides of the structure. Some species of the dauber create nests that appear similar to organ pipes, with multiple cylindrical structures parallel to one another. Others construct mound-like structures, with rounded tops and flat bottoms where it is attached to the building or residence.
The mud dauber wasp does not typically search out for human food like other wasp species do. Instead they feed on local insects, primarily spiders. This is one of the reasons mud dauber wasps are considered not a serious threat to nearby humans, and are even sometimes seen as helpful. During the process of building her nest, the female mud dauber wasp captures and paralyzes many types of insects and spiders, bringing them back for her eggs to eat upon hatching. Once hatched these wasps prefer to hunt for similar food, stinging and paralyzing spiders rather than searching through our garbage for leftovers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mud Wasps
What is the difference between mud dauber wasps and bees?
Bees look more robust and hairy compared to wasps. Mud daubers are more slender than bees with a tiny, pinched waist. Bees and wasps also prefer different foods. Bees eat pollen, nectar and sometimes honey while wasps hunt or scavenge insects, spiders and other sources of protein.
What is the difference between mud dauber wasps and hornets?
Hornets are actually a subspecies of wasp that tend to be larger and more rounded than mud dauber wasps.
Are mud dauber wasps aggressive?
Mud daubers are not an aggressive species of wasp and very rarely sting.
What are the Benefits of Professional Mud Dauber Wasp Pest Control?
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a mud dauber wasp problem. Finding and treating the mud dauber wasp nest can be challenging, especially if the main nest is hidden somewhere outside. A pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the mud dauber wasp infestation.