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Mud Daubers
August 26, 2019

Kids are back in school around here, parents are jumping for joy.

It is way too early for this, but I feel and smell a hint of Autumn in the air this past weekend.

Actually a nice reprieve from heat and oppressive humidity.

Windows open

A crisp night air.

The sounds of Crickets and Katydids fill the night.

A slight breeze keeps mosquitoes away.


Late August blesses us with fledged American Goldfinches.

We so enjoy the sounds.

Cardinals are still in mating mode, I hear the songs and will see the fledged in October and early November.

Friday I was looking through a window and noticed a hummingbird fly in to take a shower from the sprinkler I had running.

The picture is of poor quality, yet she leaved and moved around on the Cranberry bush for close to a minute.

I get a kick from stuff like that.

It is like I'm helping out nature.

Even for a simple shower.

I still take pictures of simple things,

Bees, flowers, spider webs, whatever catches my eye.

God gave us so much to enjoy, not take for granted.

This week I was watching some of the Mud Daubers that call my yard home.

Mud Daubers.


Mud daubers are solitary wasps that construct small nests of mud in or around homes, sheds, and barns and under open structures, and similar sites.

Several species exist in North America.

These wasps are long and slender with a narrow, thread-like waist.

Some are a solid steel blue or black but others have additional yellow markings.

They vary in size, from .5 inch to 1.5 inches.

Many seem to have a nervous twitch to their wings.

For me, it is like a warning to all others to "Leave Me Alone or I'll Sting".

These wasps are docile and only sting when you try to pick one up.

I work the flowers all the time and never bothered by any kind of bees (as long as I'm not near a nest).

I might add, solitary bees do not protect nests.

The three most common daubers are:

Organ Pipe Wasps (Trypoxylon politum)

AKA Mud Daubers, AKA Blue Devils.

Blue Devils, as they are commonly known in the Southeastern US, are badly named, as they are very "laid back" and rarely offer to sting anyone.

They are quite large, and they are not intimidated by your presence, so, if they fly around you, they might be a bit frightening. However there is nothing to fear....unless you want to try to hold them in your hand.

These creatures are also known for the architecture of their nests, which are tubular in style, and remind folks of organ pipes, hence another name.

A nervous sort, characterized by flicking her wings every few seconds, even when she is otherwise still.

This species is found in many different habitat types, anywhere flowers, spiders, nest sites, and a little water may be found

Blue Mud Wasp (Chalybion californicum):

(Dauber nest in my shed.)

Found throughout North America, from southern Canada south to northern Mexico.

More common in the Great Lakes region, especially in my home state of Michigan.

Adults of this species feed on flower nectar, and possibly pollen.

Individual wasps get most of their nutrition while they are larvae, feeding on spiders provided by their mother.

Adult females capture Orb-Weaver spiders, Comb-Footed spiders , often including Black Widow spiders.

These wasps capture their prey by paralyzing them with a sting.

A skillful hunter, this wasp has been observed landing on Orb webs and luring the spider out of its retreat, capturing and paralyzing the spider without getting caught in its web and becoming prey itself.

If you fear spiders, welcome these wasps into your yard.

The black and yellow mud dauber,(Sceliphron caementarium):

A black wasp with yellow markings and a very thin, long pedicel (the structure that connects the thorax and abdomen).

Yellow markings vary among individuals but are likely to be found on the base of the antenna, the dorsal side of the thorax, the base of the abdomen where it meets the pedicel, and the legs.

Like all daubers, the females are larger than males.

As with all mud daubers, only the females are armed with a stinger.

A common and widely distributed solitary sphecid wasp that hunts spiders and builds characteristic mud nests for their offspring.

In each cell of her nest, a female mud dauber lays a single egg which she provisions with up to twenty-five live, paralyzed spiders.

Mud dauber nests may be considered a nuisance because they are often built on urban structures.

Again, stings are rare and not of medical importance to humans.

Life cycle mud dauber wasps:

Daubers go through four stagesof development.

Egg, larva, pupa and adult.

My nest is built out of mud, which can containup to 25 eggs.

This wasp group is named for the nests that are made from mud collected by the females.

Mud is rolled into a ball, carried to the nest and molded into place with the wasp's mandibles.

There are three major wasps that practice this behavior.

The black and yellow mud dauber builds a series of cylindrical cells that are eventually plastered over with mud to form a smooth mud nest about the size of a fist.

The organ-pipe mud dauber, a more robust, black species, builds cylindrical tubes resembling pipe-organ pipes.

The third species is a beautiful metallic-blue wasp with blue wings.

This one does not build its own mud nest but instead uses the abandoned nests of the black and yellow mud dauber.

Sometimes, going to the extent of pirating a current nest.

After completing the mud nest the female captures several insects or spiders to provision the cells.

Prey are stung and paralyzed before being placed in the nest.

A single egg is deposited on the prey within each cell, and the cell sealed with mud.

After the wasp has finished a series of cells, she departs and does not return.

The larvae that hatch from the eggs feed on the prey items left by the adult wasp.

New adult wasps emerge to start the process over again.

(Notice the progress of the nest.)

Wasps usually evoke a great deal of anxiety or fear.

However, solitary wasps such as the mud daubers do not defend their nest the way social wasps such as hornets and yellowjackets do.

Mud daubers are very unlikely to sting, even when thoroughly aroused.

Like other bees (mason bees for example), they may sting if mishandled.

Otherwise, go about your gardening business when you come across one of these solitary wasps.

Though they may look menacing with their nervous wing twitches and all, they will leave you alone if you leave them alone.

Management of mud dauber wasps:

Control of these insects is not warranted since they normally pose little threat.

Rather, mud daubers should be regarded as beneficial, since they remove and use as prey many species of spiders which most people find disagreeable.

The mud nests can be scraped off and discarded after the young have hatched.

For some people, the idea of any bee nesting is a huge fear factor.

Educating and reassuring can't be conveyed to them.

I know, my oldest grand daughter is like this.

There is no proven method that is effective in discouraging wasps from building nests in sheltered or protected areas.

Prompt and frequent removal of nests is suggested in areas favored by the wasps.

But who would want to remove such a helpful and beneficial insect from your yard?

Well , it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"Promise me you'll always remember---- you're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

Christopher Robin to Pooh Bear.

One of my favorite quotes.

Yes, strength and courage.

Fear Cripples.

I've read about that somewhere else before.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Joshua 1:9

"Be on your guard; stand in faith; be courageous; be strong."

1 Corinthians 16:13

"Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

John 14:27

"Do not give way to fear."

1 Peter 3:6

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb.

A Blessed week to you .

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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