Mud Dauber Identification & Prevention

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Mud Dauber (Mud Wasp)

Mud Dauber wasp gathering mud for a nest

Mud Daubers, or Mud Wasps, is a name commonly used to describe wasps that build their nests from mud. The Mud Dauber has 6 legs and is long and slender with a thin, thread-like waist, and are about .5 to 1 inch (25mm) in length. In West Michigan, Mud Wasps are commonly dark with patches of yellow on their thin bodies, covered in small hairs. However, they can also be bright yellow with black markings as well. If you discover these wasps in or around your property, call a professional pest control exterminator in Muskegon, MI, for safe and effective hive and wasp removal.

Mud Dauber Nests

Mud Dauber tunnel nest

Nest made from mud

A female mud wasp builds the nest using mud and her saliva to form a simple urn-shaped nest attached to crevices, cracks, and corners. The female rolls mud into a ball and carries it back to her nest where it is formed into shape. You can find their nests on the side of buildings, under overhangs, porches, in barns, or anywhere that is protected from the rain. Mud Wasps prefer to build inside holes and crevices. They have been known to shut down machinery like lawnmowers and snow blowers by building their nest inside exhaust holes.

2 types of nests

There are two different types of Mud Dauber nests. The black and yellow Mud Dauber builds a series of cylindrical cells which she plasters together with mud and saliva. Next is the organ-pipe mud dauber. These insects are more robust than their black and yellow cousin. This species of mud wasp builds its nest in cylindrical tubes that resemble an organ. There is another species of Dauber that is metallic-blue in color. This species does not build its own nest. Instead, it hunts for abandoned black and yellow Mud Wasp nests.

Do Mud Daubers Sting Or Bite?

Mud dauber wasp on the ground

Not Usually Dangerous

Mud Wasps are not usually dangerous. They are solitary insects. While they may look scary, this insect is normally not aggressive. However, it can become belligerent when threatened. 

Not Naturally Aggressive

While not naturally aggressive, this mud wasp can pose a threat to your homestead. Nests aren’t easily spotted and can be accidentally destroyed while doing yard work or cleaning up a garage or shed, resulting in multiple stings. Each sting injects a small amount of venom that is relatively harmless to most people. There are a number of people with life-threatening allergic reactions to their sting. As always, caution is advised when dealing with these pests.

Allergic Reactions

Mud daubers are not usually dangerous to humans. However, people allergic to wasp venom may experience severe allergic reactions to a Mud Wasp sting. If stung, they can experience any number of the following symptoms, and should seek immediate medical attention.

1. Significant skin reactions like hives, itching, and flush or pale skin
2. Difficulty breathing
3. Swelling of the throat or tongue
4. A weak, rapid pulse
5. Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
6. Dizziness or fainting
7. Loss of consciousness

Control and Removal

Mud Dauber on a flower

When Do Mud Daubers Come Out

Mud Wasps prefer warmer weather. They are primarily daytime hunters. The Mud Dauber will most likely spend the night resting in its nest. They come out in the late spring and summer in northern climates. You can commonly find them around puddles collecting mud for their nests.

Mud Dauber Control

While Mud Wasps are generally harmless to humans, there are a number of reasons you may want to get rid of this pest. They are scary and may frighten children. It can be annoying having a constant wasp flying in areas where you and your family spend time together. Mud Daubers can fly into your home and sting you when you try to remove it. Or someone you know could be allergic to wasps and a lone Mud Dauber can pose a serious health risk.

When deciding whether to get rid of them, consider whether their location is near enough to human traffic that it causes an annoyance and whether the benefit of them getting rid of the spiders is worth having the daubers around. If you do decide to eradicate them yourself be careful because they can sting multiple times. The safest way to remove a nest is to hire a professional to come over and eradicate the problem. It usually only takes one treatment, and a professional may find more nests in your area that you didn’t know were there.

Removing Mud Dauber Nests

Removing wasp nests can be dangerous. If you’re unsure or are known to be allergic to wasp stings please seek professional home pest control and commercial pest control help when removing nests.

First, you should spray the nest with a wasp freeze. This will ensure that if any wasps are inside, they will die and not attack you. Next, grab a paint scraper and begin scraping the nest off whatever surface it is stuck to. Don’t be surprised if you see spiders falling out of the nest. These spiders should all be paralyzed or dead and will not hurt you. Finally, clean the area with water to remove any excess residue.

For underground and other hidden nests you may sprinkle talcum powder on and into the nest. The talcum powder acts as a poison and should kill any wasps inside.

You can attempt to relocate the nest. This is obviously the more dangerous approach as you stand a real chance of being stung. Make sure to wear protective gear and do it at night while the wasp is sleeping.

Other Resources

Carpenter Bee close up

Carpenter Bees

Often referred to as Wood Bees, or Wood Burrowing Bees are a common bee found in West Michigan. Carpenter bees are often confused with Bumble Bees.

Bee stingers close up

Sting Treatment

Wash the sting area with soap and water. This not only removes any dirt but will also disinfect the area preparing it for possible further first aid. The area around the sting will turn red. It will possibly burn a little bit and swell up.

Bee getting pollen from a white flower

Honey Bees

Given the off chance that you have undesirable honey bees around your home, you can contact a neighborhood beekeeper who might have the option to eliminate the honey bees without killing them.

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