Mud dauber is the family of wasps that build the nests using the mud. They do not attack first, however, they can sting anyone who becomes a threat. As an experienced entomologist, I’ve met different types of these wasps, from metallic-blue mud dauber to organ-pipe one.
However, the most common type that is wide-spread on American soil is black and yellow mud dauber. I assume that this is the type that is bothering you, occupying your yard. Those people who have an allergy to wasps venom can’t even come nearly to them, and if the wasp stings, they have to take immediate measures.
- 1 Detailed Guide on Mud Daubers: Identification
- 1.1 The Lifecycle
- 1.2 Mud Dauber vs Wasp: What’s the Difference
- 1.3 Reasons Why Mud Daubers Appear in Your House
- 1.4 What Are the Mud Dauber Dangers?
- 1.5 Most-Common Ways of Getting Rid of Mud Daubers
- 2 Best Mud Dauber Treatments
- 3 FAQ
- 4 To Kill or Not to Kill?
Detailed Guide on Mud Daubers: Identification
Before I tell you how to get rid of mud daubers, let’s start with the basics. You need to know your enemy. You may find the name dirt daubers or mud wasps alongside mud daubers. Both of them are applied to mud daubers.
These wasps are up to 1 inch long and do not attack humans, they are using their venom mainly to paralyze spiders which they feed on. If they sting human beings, it is not as painful as bees’ attack, yet those who have an allergy must take action immediately.
There are three types of these wasps:
- Metallic-blue mud dauber builds the nest only if there is no old one, built by someone else. In this case, the wasp will restore the abandoned nest. It can occupy barns and porches.
- Organ-pipe mud dauber gets its name for building the nest in a cylindrical tube shape that reminds of the flute or organ pipe. They prefer to live on cliffs, bridges, in walls, and caves.
- Black-and-yellow mud dauber builds a one-cell nest that is attached to the corner of the house or cracks. Every nest has 1 egg. These wasps prefer to combine several nests together.
Now, let’s sum up what does a mud dauber look like:
- The length of the body varies from ¾ to 1 inch;
- The color can be completely black, yellow and black, or blue;
- These wasps have a narrow and long waist.
They prefer to live in solitude, instead of colonies. Female mud daubers build nests from clay or mud. A cell usually includes paralyzed spiders and one egg. After the nest is sealed, the mother flies away, abandoning her children. Babies survive on spiders left by mothers.
Larvae of mud daubers have a so-called closed digestive system and can’t excrete anything until finishing the food that is stored. After spiders are consumed, they can lose the waste.
After the larva grows, it builds a pupa, which protects it during the changing process. Adult species come out of the nest somewhere in the late spring or early summer. They fly away to look for mates. Adult species feed on flowers as well.
Mud Dauber vs Wasp: What’s the Difference
Although mud daubers look like wasps and even belong to their kind, they have different behavior and habits. Actually, getting rid of mud daubers may be even easier, as they tend to live outside the group, leaving their nests once eggs are laid. The main differences are:
While there are multiple types of wasps, mud daubers have unique coloration, a slim and long body.
Mud daubers rarely attack humans, most of the time they try to avoid them. They do not defend their nests as often as social wasps do.
Mud daubers are useful for humans that have a problem with spiders, as they eat even black widows. So if you have a problem with spiders, you may want to leave mud daubers in peace. They can also eat flowers’ nectar, but not as often as social wasps.
Social wasps build nests from the wood pulp, inside the plants, trees, on the walls. These nests are wide and big, serving the home for the whole colony. Mud daubers build smaller nests for their eggs only. They build it from mud on the flat surfaces.
Reasons Why Mud Daubers Appear in Your House
If you can’t get rid of mud wasps and they keep coming back, it means they found something attractive in your house. It can be:
- The amount of food they have easy access to. For example, there may be plenty of spiders in your garden or house.
- The shelter. These insects prefer to live in an unreachable location for humans, in places that are covered from rain and wind. They dwell under the porches, in barns, sheds, garages, attics, and on the walls.
- Lack of human presence. Mud daubers prefer solitude in everything. They do not live in colonies and avoid people.
What Are the Mud Dauber Dangers?
After the procedure of mud dauber nest identification was successfully completed, and you found their habitat, do not rush. These insects are not really aggressive and can peacefully coexist with humans. Of course, it only works if humans do not have allergies to the wasps’ venom.
They rarely sting, and if they sting, it is less painful than bees’ stings. They often do not defend the nest, and if you see one sealed with mud, it means there are eggs or larvae inside.
Most-Common Ways of Getting Rid of Mud Daubers
There are various ways of how to kill mud daubers or at least to get rid of them for good. Some of them include chemicals, others are natural. I want to point out three the most wide-spread of them:
Step 1. Spray
You can use the wasp spray. Usually, these sprays contain a chemical that kills mud daubers. These sprays are effective but must be applied only in protective costumes.
Step 2. Paint Scraper
Remove the whole nest with a paint scraper. Before you use a scraper, check out whether the holes in the nest are unsealed. If you see the nest without holes, it means that insects are inside. Don’t forget to seal all the cracks in the walls and make sure there is no other way for mud daubers to get into the house.
Step 3. Clean
You have to clean the place where the nest was after you got rid of it. Spray it with water, and wash it. Don’t let parts of the nest remain, as mud daubers can find the way back.
Step 4. Professional Help
Call pest control. You can do it anytime you want. I recommend this solution for those people who are allergic to wasps.
Best Mud Dauber Treatments
Below I have reviewed two of my favorite remedies against mud daubers. They are effective and versatile by their actions. I also recommend paying attention to the insecticide in case you have problems with numerous wasps, while the putty knife is a great way to remove the nest.
1. BASF 597802 PT Wasp-Freeze II Spray – Killing Mud Daubers Outdoors Effectively
The 597802 PT Wasp-Freeze II Spray by BASF is an extremely helpful tool in case you have a severe infestation of different types of wasps and hornets. You can kill mud daubers in no time. It also exterminates bees and wasps. However, you may be extremely careful using this tool, as it contains powerful chemicals inside. Developers offer to use it outside.
The spray was created by BASF, a best-selling company that provides various insecticides. This product was checked on wasps, bees, and even spiders. Do not use it near children. Wear a protective mask and glasses while spraying it on the nest.
2. WORKPRO Putty Knife Set – the Mud Dauber Nest Removal of a High-Quality Stainless Steel
Putty Knife Set by WORKPRO contains 4 different knives of 1.5, 3, 4, and 6 inches. It is a savvy offer, as you can use these knives around your house even after you remove the nest of mud daubers. For example, use it to cover all the cracks in walls, to avoid the next house intrusion. It is made of stainless steel that is flexible, of high quality, and durable.
The material is resistant to rust. Putty Knife Set was created by one of the top sellers WORKPRO. The company develops useful tools for homes. The handle is ergonomic and comfortable to hold. I suggest wearing gloves as well as glasses while removing the nest. Before you do this, check out whether there are no holes.
Sometimes it is better to learn how to keep mud daubers away before having to remove their nest. The key option for you is to constantly check all the walls, attic, porch, barn, windows, garage if there are no nests. Don’t forget to wash the place. If you don’t want to damage eggs in the nest, you can try to carefully relocate it into some safe place.
There are other measures:
- Mud daubers can’t stand birds as they hunt these insects. The more birds you have, the fewer mud daubers will come by. You can feed birds on purpose and make birdhouses on the trees.
- Almost all insects do not like peppermint oil. If you spray it in the places of possible habitat for wasps, they will not fly there. It may help you with various types of wasps as well.
- Get rid of spiders at first. Mud daubers will not have food and fly away.
- Spray vinegar and dish soap. It is a temporal solution but a working one. Mud daubers do not like them as much as peppermint oil.
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What are mud daubers? Mud daubers are wasps that belong to Sphecidae and Crabronidae families, depending on their type. Now let’s dig deeper into this topic.
Are Mud Daubers Dangerous?
They can be dangerous only in case you piss them off while being allergic to their venom. They rarely sting. Besides, they do not protect their nest like other types of wasps. Mud daubers prefer to live solo and avoid human beings. They are extremely dangerous if you have an allergy.
You can find it out beforehand, during the consultation with your doctor. So, if you don’t know yet whether you have an allergy or not, make an appointment.
What Attracts Mud Daubers?
Mud daubers can be attracted to your garden by the fragrance of flowers. They may be attracted to your attic or barn by the number of spiders. Moreover, they may be lured into your house or under the porch simply by the presence of shelter.
The fewer people are in the house, the better for them. These insects do not like big gatherings and prefer to live as far from people as possible.
How Do Mud Daubers Make Their Nest?
Depending on the type of mud daubers, they make nests of different sizes. However, their name speaks for itself. The nests are built by female species. They collect mud and bring it to the shelter they’ve picked. Usually, one cell is made for one egg.
They put spiders paralyzed with their venom inside, so the baby could feed on it. The cells can be combined in a nest. After the eggs are placed, the female mud dauber closes it with the mud and flies away.
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Do Mud Daubers Sting People?
They do it extremely rarely, mud daubers sting people only in case they feel the threat from them. It does not happen often, as these wasps do not have the instinct to protect the nest and do not live in big colonies. They may attack you if you will move your hands actively in their direction.
They can also attack you if you carry the nest while they are still there and already awake. This is why you have to check whether the nest is empty or the cells are still sealed. Don’t take the nest with bare hands. Even though mud daubers sting less painful than other wasps, it may still hurt.
Related Post: How to Get Rid of Ground Waps
To Kill or Not to Kill?
This is a question, which is incredibly subjective. You should make a decision, based on your health issues and the presence of children in the house, who can get easily scared by mud daubers. At the same time, these insects are part of the natural cycle. They are fed on spiders at your house or yard, and they are food for the birds you love so much. You can simply transport the nest in some other place and make sure the wasps will not come back.
Do you have mud daubers? How do you get rid of them? Describe your case in the comments below!
- Why mud daubers are on spider patrol(University of California) (Rachael Freeman Long):
- Bees and Wasps (Illinois Department of Public Health):
- Mud Daubers (Missouri Department of Conservation):