Video: Mud Dauber Wasps Build Nests With Mud in My Back Yard

Mud Dauber Wasp
Mud Dauber Wasp | Source

Mud Daubers at My House

In the summer months of Northern California, we see a lot of wasps around our house. They build their nests under places that offer protection from the elements. I normally see their nests under the roof's eves and under the stair rails. These little insects are not to be messed with because they pack a powerful punch with their stinger.

Recently, my husband discovered some mud dauber wasps collecting mud for their nest. He shot a video of these wasps at work. Then, he followed them to their nest and shot some footage of the wasps busy working at their nest. You will notice that the video is a little shaky. I guess you would be a little shaky too if you had a swarm of wasps buzzing around your face. To tell you the truth, I am amazed that my husband did not get stung, because I was told that wasps are notorious for inflicting harm upon anyone who comes near their nests. They not only sting once, such as with bees, but wasps have considerable stinging powers and are able to sting multiple times, inflicting as much pain on their victim as necessary to get them to leave the premises.

Mud Dauber Wasp Tube Entrance

Mud dauber wasp with tubular entrance to its nest.
Mud dauber wasp with tubular entrance to its nest. | Source

What are Mud Dauber Wasps?

There are several different types of mud dauber wasps. However the wasps in my back yard are little narrow black wasps with yellow stripes across their body and when these wasps are at rest, they fold their wings lengthwise.

Mud dauber wasps make their nests of mud, in crevices of walls, in banks, in plant stems, and often in most inconvenient places, such as keyholes. These type of wasps are called keyhole wasps. Some wasps make a tubular entrance to their hole. The tube is composed of a series of little pellets of mud, which the wasp, with the help of its mouth secretions, sticks together until a sort of openwork tube of sometimes an inch long is formed. This curve is directed downwards, so that the wasp has to creep up it before reaching the actual orifice of the nest. It looks as if the first shower of rain would wash the whole structure away, and I have very little doubt that it often does just that. I find their structures quite interesting.

For food, mud dauber wasps sting and paralyze small spiders to bring them to their nest. Then the mud dauber wasp lays their egg on their prey and then uses mud to seal the prey inside the chamber. The chamber is a little round nest of mud which it suspends from a twig, or under an object which will allow the nest to hang with the chamber side exposed, giving easy access to the nest.

The video is of the mud daubers busy collecting mud from our back yard.

Mud Dauber Wasps Collecting Mud

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Comments 20 comments

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 20 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi justmesuzanne. The good news is my husband did not get stung, but neighbors have shared that they have been stung by them, especially when they were working around the nests. I guess the wasps care a lot about protecting their nests. Thank you very much for your comment and feedback. It's good to know that wasps aren't really all that aggressive after all.

justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 20 months ago from Texas

As far as I know, mud daubers (or dirt daubers as we call them in TX) don't sting anything but spiders. They are not aggressive, and I have never known anyone to be stung by one. Interesting film and info! :) Voted up and interesting.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 3 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi Rajan. Yeah, my husband says they don't bother us if we don't bother them. It seems to be true, but I'm still scared of them.

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Very interesting info and video too. Seems the wasps collect mud from various places as they move around.

Voted up, interesting.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi alocsin, I'm surprised my husband didn't get stung a single time while video taping them. They just seemed to ignore him the whole time.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

As much as I admire these wasps, they freak me out because of the possibility of multiple stings. Whenever I see them around my house, I call the pest control company to remove the nest. Voting this Up and Interesting.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi lotzafn, my husband video taped these insects collecting the mud and then transporting the mud to the nest. There is more video, but we thought it would be too boring to show the whole thing. We didn't know, so we asked our neighbor's daughter who works for the national forest services. She identified these insects as mud daubers. But for the sake of being consistent, I have taken the second photo and video down until I can get clarification. Thank you for your comments.

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lotzafn 4 years ago

I am quite certain the second picture shown is some sort of paper making wasp or yellow jacket. If you were to take it down (after exterminating the occupants) I think you would find it is not made of mud. Mud daubers and their relatives have a section in their abdomen that is as thin as a piece of string. Mud daubers are not aggressive and will not protect their nests if someone goes near or even knocks it down. The hornets in the second picture would readily sting if someone messed with their hive.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you for your comment, CloudExplorer. Yes, I would say my husband is very brave. I guess when he saw me taking a photo of bees (easy enough) for a share on Facebook, he decided to step up over that and shoot a video of wasps (totally scary) for a share on HubPages. He wins!

CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 4 years ago from New York City

I like this hub about the muddy wasps lol, it's a sure danger to get close to their homes for sure, one of my cousins one summer at sleep away camp got stung by a whole squadron of them, when he had slid down this hill, and stumbled over a hive by mistake.

That put him in the infirmary for a whole week, and he was lucky to survive the strike from more than several bee's stinging him at once. Nice hub Marlene cool stuff! your husband is brave, voted up and out.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thanks Kaili. Now, that makes sense. But, I never would have thought of that on my own. Great advice. I'll take it!

Kaili Bisson profile image

Kaili Bisson 4 years ago from Canada

Hi Marlene...looks like tamron already suggested when to take care of them. They aren't as active at night and are all in the nest at that time, so if your hubby can get a "wasp bomb" and spray them at night, it lessens the risk of being stung and you'll catch them all at home :-)

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi addingsense, it is so hard to get it just right sometimes. Thank you for taking a look at the wasps that share space in my back yard.

addingsense profile image

addingsense 4 years ago from kerala


why can't you name the hub as wasp geography or wasp discovery..LOL

you are very careful at each point you write .that is why i said that

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you for the suggestion tamron. That's interesting, I'll do that. Wait... I'll ask my husband to do that! But, can you say what the reason is for waiting until just before the sun goes down? I'm just curious. Thanks!

tamron profile image

tamron 4 years ago

Nice article! To avoid getting stung always spray the wasp-nest right before the sun goes down.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

addingsense - thank you for reading and for your positive comment.

addingsense profile image

addingsense 4 years ago from kerala

nice one.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi Mhatter99, I have never been stung, but I know people who have been stung and they were not happy campers when it happened.

Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

one only needs to be stung once to respect this creature. great article.

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