Mud daubers, dirt daubers or mud-daubing wasps, are umbrella terms given to several types of wasp that use mud or clay to build their nests. They are large and quite scary-looking wasps that are common in Utah. Are they a threat to humans? What should you do if you find a mud dauber nest on your property?
These wasps like to build their nests out of clay or mud, hence their name. In the natural world, they prefer to create nests in sheltered spots such as under rocky overhangs and in cave entrances but in human inhabited areas, you can find their nests under eaves, in garages, attics, sheds and barns. Mud daubers are found throughout Utah and can build a nest in just a few hours.
Even though these wasps are large and alarming with their long body and legs, mud daubers are not an aggressive species. As they are usually solitary insects, you’re not likely to find yourself being attacked by a swarm of mud daubers. They can sting but use it on their prey, not generally on humans. While getting stung by a mud dauber is a possibility, it’s a rare occurrence and shouldn’t usually be a cause for concern. If you are stung and are allergic to the wasp venom, seek medical attention.
Female mud dauber wasps usually create their nests themselves out of little pellets of wet clay or mud. Depending on the species of mud dauber, their nests may look like long tubes or a fist-sized, smoother nest. There’s only one wasp per nest and the female stocks it with spiders, paralysed with venom, so her larva has something to eat as soon as it hatches.
There are plenty of reasons not to get rid of mud daubers as they are well-known for natural pest control such as keeping the black widow population down. Add to that their non-aggressive behavior and solitary nature and you might just end up leaving them be.
There are some reasons to get rid of them and their nests though: