The term “mud brush” refers to a wasp that builds its nest in mud. The term “mud dauber wasp” refers to various wasp species, including blue, black, and yellow mud daubers and barrel organ daubers. Throughout the country, mudslingers are frequently found.
The term “mud applicator” (also known as “mud wasp” or “dirt applicator”) is often used to refer to a variety of wasps in the families Spasidae or Crabronidae that build their nests from the soil. Members of the family Vespidae, particularly the subfamily Eumeninae, are not included in this category and are instead referred to as “potter wasps.”
Mud daubers vary in appearance and belong to several families. Most are slender wasps, 25 mm (1 in) long. The name is related to the mud nests made by female wasps, which are held in place by the wasps’ mandibles. Although landslides are generally not aggressive, they can be hostile when confronted. Bites are infrequent.
With one egg in each nest, the mud wasp typically lays several paralyzed spiderlings for the egg once it has hatched. Adults can often be seen collecting soil and water for their nests, which are usually built in sheltered places of houses, structures, and rock ledges. The mud dobber wasp usually feeds on flower nectar, but on rare occasions, it can be observed flying while holding a spider in its jaws to feed the larva in the mud nest.
Mud Dauber Wasp Habits
Mud dauber wasp undergo complete metamorphosis, meaning they go through the egg, larva, pupa (cocoon), and adult stages of their life cycle. The overwintering pupae turn into adults in the spring. The new adult female will build a nest out of mud tubes of varying sizes. The female dauber captures the spiders in each mud tube and uses their venom to immobilize them.
Each mud tube is filled with an egg, which the female dauber lays on the first spider before sealing it with mud. Mud dauber eggs hatch into larvae, which then feed on prey left by adult female mud daubers. The larva will then pupate, which usually takes three weeks.
The pupa will construct a silken cocoon to keep warm until it becomes an adult the following spring. Adult mud-daubers consume the honeydew, plant nectar, and bodily fluids of captured spiders for food. Some species of mud daubers also consume nuisance black widow spiders as prey.
Since mud daubers are solitary wasps, they never reside in colonies and are not social insects. However, more than a single mud dauber nest can be discovered under certain favourable conditions. Sheltered areas under eaves, porch roofs, open garages or sheds, barns, sheltered walls of buildings, and attics are common locations for earthen adobe nests.