Pest Guide for Mud Dauber Wasps
When you think of a wasp, a certain image probably comes to mind of a yellow and black insect. While that image encompasses many types of wasps, mud dauber wasps are some of the most unique looking. The name “mud dauber” actually refers to any wasp that builds its nest from mud and may also be called a “dirt dauber,” “organ pipe wasp,” “mud wasp,” or “potter wasp.”
Mud daubers tend to be about ½ inch to 1 inch long with a “thread-waisted” body shape. This means they sport an extremely long and thin stretched out segment between their abdomen and thorax. This body shape is what makes them different looking than other wasps. In addition, instead of the common yellow and black colors, these wasps are often completely black or blue metallic and some species have yellow or green markings on their bodies.
Most nests look like cylinders or pipes covered with mud, but the exact shape of the nest can vary by group. For example, the most unique nest shape is from the potter wasp and resembles a small, clay pot. No matter the nest shape, they can commonly be found on the horizontal or vertical faces of walls, overhangs, cliffs, bridges, caves, and other elevated structures. You’ll usually find several nests clumped together, making them fairly easy to identify.
While many other wasp species seek out human foods, mud dauber wasps like to feed on plant nectar, honeydew, and the body fluids of the spiders and insects that they capture. Some mud daubers are very important – two species seek out and capture black widow spiders while many others are helpful for reducing the number of pest insects.
While the term “wasp” may bring on a thought of aggression, it’s very unlikely that a mud dauber will sting. Many may only do so if they feel truly threatened, which means if you’re going to approach their nest, it’s imperative that you do so with caution.
Because mud dauber wasps help keeps the spider populations down around their nests and because they are so tame, many people don’t mind a nest near their home or office. However, if the presence of mud daubers isn’t something you want, we recommend contacting our pest control company. While it’s possible to get rid of these nests on your own, we suggest leaving it to a professional.