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What Are Mud Daubers?

Stinging insects are a concern when spending time outside. To help keep your yard pest-free, you need to know what bug is bugging you. Mud daubers are a type of wasp that could end up in your yard. We’ve gathered information about mud daubers to help you identify them and fight an infestation.

Appearance

Mud Dauber

Mud daubers are members of the wasp family. These wasps usually have a black or blue body and their wings can be dark or clear.

The color of the mud dauber depends on the species. Some, like the black and yellow mud dauber, have yellow markings. There are mud daubers with green markings too. While the blue mud dauber has a metallic blue body, the organ pipe mud dauber has a shiny, black body.

These wasps are long and grow between 1/2″-1″ in length. Compared to other wasps, they have a very thin body and waist.    

Nest

Mud dauber nest

Mud daubers get their name from the material they use to construct their nests—mud. The nests are made of several cylinder-shaped tubes. Like other wasp nests, they have cells which help protect the eggs, larvae, and pupae.

The shape of the nest depends on the species of mud daubers. Organ pipe mud daubers have nests with long tubes similar to those found on a pipe organ. Potter wasp nests look like a small pot.

Mud daubers build their nests in places that are sheltered. They can be found in sheds, attics, and porch ceilings. These nests are made by individual mud daubers and their offspring.

Habits

Mud Dauber on leaf

Mud daubers are solitary insects that don’t live in a colony.

During the winter, pupae remain in a cocoon and emerge as adults in the spring. Larvae feed on insects that are brought to the nest. Adults feed on liquids like plant nectar and honeydew.

The climate of a location determines when these wasps are most active. In places with cold winters and warm summers, mud daubers are active in late spring and summer. They can be active year-round if the location remains warm during winter months.

Mud daubers are located throughout the United States and certain species are more prominent in certain areas. While the black and yellow mud dauber is widespread, the organ pipe mud dauber is most often found in the eastern United States.

Threats

Mud daubers are not as aggressive as other wasps and aren’t quick to sting. They are actually the wasp that stings least often. Though they aren’t known to be aggressive, you should still be cautious around them.

If you get too close to them, they will sting. Like other wasps, they can sting multiple times. Their stings can hurt but aren’t usually dangerous. However, people can suffer from allergic reactions to their venom. If you are stung by a mud dauber and experience hives or have trouble breathing, immediately seek medical attention.

Despite their non-aggressive behavior, you don’t want them in your yard. These wasps have been known to build nests in holes they find in furniture or in electrical motors. Their nests can also attract other stinging insects that are more aggressive.  

Prevention and Treatment

Maggie's Farm Wasp & Hornet Killer

Spotting a mud dauber nest is the best way to identify an infestation. You’ll want to check for these nests in sheltered locations, like your porch and attic. When using outdoor equipment, it’s a good idea to make sure there aren’t any nests in the motor.

If nests have holes in them, there is a good chance that the nest is inactive or old. When mud daubers leave the nest, they create holes in it. If there are abandoned nests, you will still want to remove them since they can attract other wasps.

You can scrape the nest off the surface it is on or you can use water to remove them. The steady pressure of a garden hose will help to clear them from an area. If the nest is active, you can treat it with a product like Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Wasp & Hornet Killer.

Even though mud daubers aren’t aggressive, these pesky bugs can cause problems. Regularly checking for mud dauber nests can help you quickly eliminate and prevent future bug problems. If you need help keeping your home bug-free, we have your back! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products.


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