Description: Mud daubers are long, slender wasps, with thread-like waists. The name of this wasp group comes from the nests that are made by the females, which consist of mud molded into place by the wasp’s mandibles.
Biology: The adults emerge in the spring, mate, and begin construction of their nests which may contain one or more cells. Mud Daubers are solitary wasps. They are predators that capture and sting insects and spiders to provision their nests. The female mud dauber collects spiders which she stings and paralyzes and then places inside the chambers. She then lays an egg on the spiders in each chamber before sealing it off. The larval wasp hatches and feeds on the spiders provided, molting several times. Development takes about 3 weeks. The larva then spin a cocoon and overwinters until the following spring when it pupates. It then transforms to an adult wasp which emerges from its mud chamber.
Habits: Mud daubers are rarely aggressive. They are also the main predator of the black and brown widow spiders. Black-and-yellow mud-dauber build a simple, one-cell, urn-shaped nest that is attached to crevices, cracks and corners. Each nest contains one egg. Usually, they clump several nests together and plaster more mud over them. Blue mud-daubers frequently appropriate old nests of black-and-yellow mud-daubers. They carry water to them and recondition them for their own purposes. The two species commonly occupy the same barns, porches, or other nest sites. Adults of both sexes frequently drink flower nectar. To capture a spider, the wasp grabs it and stings it into submission. The venom from the sting does not kill the spider, but paralyzes and preserves it so it can be transported and stored in the nest cell until consumed by the larva.
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