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Mud dauber wasp

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Mud Dauber Wasp

Mud daubers Wasps are solitary wasps of the family Sphecidae. They vary in length from 0.5 to 1.25 inches and are very slender with threadlike waists. They build mud nests in sheltered areas. These nests are tubelike cells often positioned side by side.

Mud dauber wasp

Mud dauber wasp

Adults of the organpipe mud dauber are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, shiny, black, elongate and slender. The inner margins of the eyes are deeply emarginate (notched), with hind leg segments (tibiae) white. Black and yellow mud daubers are about 1 to 1-1/4 inches long; black or brown with yellow markings (partially yellow legs) and thread-waisted. Blue mud daubers are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, metallic blue to blackish (with blue wings) and thread-waisted.

Mud daubers (Sphecidae) build small nests of mud under overhangs like eaves of buildings. The pipe organ mud dauber, Trypoxylon politum (Say) mud nests of long parallel tubes and provision their nests with spiders. The black and yellow mud dauber, Sceliphron caementarium (Drury), constructs a globular nest containing one cell to several cells, also provisioned with paralyzed spiders.

Adults are commonly seen in wet spots, balls of mud for building their nests. The iridescent blue mud dauber, Chalybion californicum (Saussure), takes over nests of the black and yellow mud dauber. It provisions its nest mostly with black widow spiders.

Mud dauber wasp

Mud dauber wasp

Life Cycle: Mud daubers are often seen at the edge of mud puddles collecting mud to construct their tublar nests. Organpipe mud dauber nests are partitioned off with mud and each cell is provisioned with several paralyzed spiders and implanted with an egg. After eggs hatch, larvae feed on captured spiders with larvae maturing in about three weeks. Larvae spin a cocoon and overwinter. Males may guard the nest while the female forages. Mud cells may be constructed in deserted nests of the black and yellow mud dauber.

Female black and yellow mud daubers paralyze spiders, pack them into the cell with their head until full, lay one egg and seal the cell. Larvae are pale yellowish about 3/4 inch long when fully grown. Pupation occurs within a cocoon inside the cell. There are two broods with hibernation in the cocoon. Female blue mud daubers take over a mud nest, open a cell by moistening the clay with water and emptying it of spiders and the other wasp egg. They then deposit their own paralyzed spiders, lay their own egg and seal over the cell.

Control:When painting buildings it is often necessary to remove the finger-like mud tubes from places which need to be painted. Nests can be removed with a putty knife and adults killed with a fly swatter, if necessary. Usually it is not necessary to control mud daubers unless their presence is a nuisance. They are beneficial to humans by sometimes killing dangerous spiders such as the black widow.

Mud dauber wasp Nest

Mud dauber wasp Nest

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