Mud Dauber

Actual Size: 1”

Characteristics: Yellow or black; very thin waist. Easily identified by their nest.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Nests are made out of mud. Tubes are about 1” long and constructed side by side under eaves, porch ceilings, and more.

Habits:

  • Mud daubers are solitary, not social, wasps
  • They collect and store spiders to feed their young
  • They are unlikely to sting, even when disturbed

Mud Daubers in Eastern Tennessee

Mud daubers are solitary wasps that construct nests or brood chambers from mud and other materials. This type of wasp is not known to be aggressive and usually will not sting unless There are many species of mud daubers and they are commonly found throughout the United States, including right here in Eastern Tennessee. 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 Dauber Habitat

Female mud daubers are the ones that build the nests. These 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. When their nests appear to have round holes on the outside, this is an indication the wasps have emerged and the nest is inactive. However, it’s still important to remain cautious and avoid nests at all costs.

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 eventually becoming an adult mud dauber.

Mud Dauber Behavior & Stings

Mud daubers 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. They also aren’t known to sting and, unlike other wasps, aren’t defensive about their nests.

Although mud daubers aren’t dangerous, they can still be a nuisance when they’ve nesting in or near your home. Nest removal should always be handled by a professional wasp control expert.