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:

  • Unlikely to sting, even when disturbed
  • Best identified by their thread-like waist
  • Feed on nectar, honeydew, and body fluids

Mud Daubers in Knoxville TN

Mud daubers are solitary wasps that build their nests out of mud. Throughout the nation, there are several species of mud daubers. Here in Tennessee, it’s common to see these wasps in residential and commercial areas, especially in the summertime. In addition to 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 aggressive and typically do not sting unless their nest is directly threatened. They also are not known to defend their nest.

Mud Dauber Nests

Female mud daubers construct the nests that look cylindrical and often appear 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. If you spot a mud dauber nest with round holes on the outside, this often means the wasp(s) have likely vacated the nest. However, it’s still important to practice caution around nests.

Mud Dauber Habits & Dangers

Mud daubers do not pose a huge threat. They are rarely aggressive and will only sting very occasionally. In addition, they rarely defend their nest and will fly away if you get close to them. Although mud daubers aren’t very dangerous, they can still be a nuisance when they are nesting in or near your property. If you notice mud dauber activity nearby your Knoxville TN property, it’s important to always contact your local wasp control company.