Mud Dauber

Actual Size: 1”

Characteristics: Yellow or black; very thin, thread-like 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:

  • Mud daubers are not aggressive and rarely sting
  • Female mud daubers collect and store spiders (including black widows) to feed their young
  • They are solitary and do not live in colonies

Mud Daubers in Central Florida

Just as its name implies, mud daubers are a type of wasp that constructs their nests from mud. Besides its unique nest, one of the easiest ways to identify a mud dauber is by its thread-like waist separating its abdomen and thorax, which helps differentiate it from other types of wasps. Mud daubers are not nearly aggressive as other types of wasps. These wasps are considered to be beneficial to the environment due to their habit of feeding on other types of insects. Adult mud daubers feed on honeydew and the body fluids of the insects they capture, including black widow spiders. This makes them a beneficial insect.

Mud Dauber Nests & Habitat

Female mud daubers build the cylindrical nests that often look like organ pipes. 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.

If you notice a nest with round holes on the outside, it often indicates that the wasps have evacuated and the nest is not active. In any case, it’s important to stay away from the nests.

Mud Dauber Behaviors & Dangers

Due to the fact that they are solitary wasps, mud daubers are not aggressive and do not defend their nest the way social wasps, like hornets and yellowjackets, do. 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. If you notice these nests, always stay away and contact your local wasp control company for assistance or guidance.