Mud Dauber

Actual Size: 1”

Characteristics: Yellow or black; very thin waist that looks thread-like.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Mud tube nests are about 1” long and constructed side by side under eaves, porch ceilings, and more.

Habits:

  • Not aggressive and rarely sting, even when defending their nest
  • Undergo a complete metamorphosis in their lifetime from egg to adult
  • Adults feed on plant nectar, honeydew, and body fluids from the spiders they capture

Mud Daubers in El Paso TX and Anthony NM

Even though there are multiple types of mud daubers, they are mostly black in color with a long, slender body. They are best identified by their thread-like waist. They are named as such because they construct their nests out of the mud. Mud daubers are not aggressive and typically do not sting unless their nest is directly threatened. They are considered to be solitary wasps, although more than one can be found in an area at a time. For the most part, they feed on honeydew, plant nectar, and fluids from the spiders they capture.

Mud Dauber Nests

Female mud daubers construct their nests out of the mud. They are cylindrical in shape and often look like an organ pipe. Nests consist of short mud tubes constructed side by side and are most often located in shaded areas like porch ceilings, under eaves, or in sheds and barns. The female mud dauber collects spiders, paralyzes them with her sting, and then places them inside mud chambers within the nest. She deposits an egg on top of one of the spiders in the chamber before sealing it off. The larval wasp hatches and feeds on the spiders provided, molting several times before pupating and transforming into an adult wasp. 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 Habits & Behaviors

Mud daubers are considered beneficial for reducing spider populations. Some are even known to feed on poisonous black widow spiders. Although mud daubers aren’t dangerous and rarely sting, they can still be a nuisance when they are nesting in or near your home. If a nest is found on your property, nest removal should always be handled by a professional wasp control company, as any DIY wasp control is dangerous.