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Black and Yellow Mud Daubers Collecting Mud & Building Cells

7-20-15 mud dauber 140There are many species of mud daubers — wasps that build mud cells in which they lay eggs and in which their larvae develop. The female Black and Yellow Mud Dauber gathers mud at the edge of a pond or puddle, rolls it into a ball, grasps it in her mandibles and flies it back to her nest site, a spot protected from rain, often on a man-made building. Here she constructs several mud cylindrical cells.

Like most wasps, mud daubers are predators, and they provision their mud cells with select spiders (including jumping spiders, crab spiders and orb weavers) which they locate, sting and paralyze before stuffing them into a cell. The female lays an egg amongst the spiders, so that when the egg hatches the emerging larva will have a supply of spiders (that haven’t decomposed, because they’re not dead) to eat. She seals the cell with mud, and repeats this process several times after which she covers the small group of cells with more mud. The Black and Yellow Mud Dauber larvae pupate in the fall, overwinter inside the cells and emerge as adult wasps the following spring.

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3 responses

  1. They lay their eggs in the grounding sockets of the electric plugs in the garage, and my Buddhist leanings prevent me from using the plugs till the kids hatch. In Texas they’re called dirt-daubers, and I remember them being everywhere out in the country.

    July 20, 2015 at 8:29 am

  2. Cheers for Buddhism!

    July 20, 2015 at 10:13 am

  3. Kathryn

    Thanks Will Lange for not killing the wasplets. On a personal note, I would rather die than wake up in a cell full of zombie spiders!

    July 23, 2015 at 11:25 am

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