Mud Dauber

Category:

Actual Size: 1”

Characteristics: Yellow or black; very thin waist

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:

  • Known most for their unique nests, which look like organ pipes
  • Best identified by their thread-like waist
  • Feed on plant nectar, honeydew, and body fluids from spiders

Mud Daubers in Wisconsin

Mud daubers are solitary wasps that construct small nests of mud in or around homes, sheds, and barns and under open structures, bridges, and similar sites. These wasps are long and slender with a narrow, thread-like waist. Mud daubers are solitary wasps, meaning they are not social and do not live in colonies. They pass through four stages during their life cycle – egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. Depending on the species, they complete one or two generations per year. In the spring, overwintering pupae develop into the adult. Mud daubers are not aggressive and typically do not sting unless their nest is directly threatened.

Mud Dauber Habitat & Nests

Carrying a ball of wet mud back to the nest site in her mandibles, the female mud wasp delicately crafts cells made to hold her eggs. Many short mud tubes, usually about 1″ long, are constructed side by side. Nests are usually built in sheltered sites protected from the rain, such as under eaves, porch ceilings, garages, sheds, barns, and attics. The nests may also be found stuck to the walls of buildings or the sides of equipment. After the female constructs the chambers, she captures and paralyzes spiders to place in the cells as larval food. An egg is laid in each cell, and it is sealed. When nests appear to have round holes on the outside, this is an indication the wasps have emerged and the nest is inactive.

Mud Dauber Behaviors & Dangers

Because they are solitary wasps, mud daubers are not aggressive and do not defend their nest the way social wasps, like hornets and yellow jackets, do. In fact, mud daubers are very unlikely to sting, even when thoroughly disrupted. Although mud daubers generally aren’t dangerous or destructive, they can become a nuisance if they choose to build a nest under your eaves, on your porch, under your patio covering or in a garage or shed on your property. They are actually beneficial as they help control spiders.

If mud dauber activity is occurring near your property, always contact your local wasp control company.