The dry weather conditions we have been having are hard on many things. Dry grass and trees, struggling flowers and gardens. The dry conditions also effect the bug population. Such as the wasp Sceliphron Caementarium or more commonly known to us as the “mud dauber”.
The mud dauber is usually black and yellow in color. Their size can vary from 3/4 to 1 inch in length. Their most common feature is their long narrow waist or “petiole”, the section between the thorax and abdomen.
You may have noticed them, along the edges of mud puddles, looking to obtain mud with which to build their nests. Typically the mud dauber is not aggressive. They will often fly around or by a person without a problem.
The mud daubers main source of food is spiders.
Their nest, constructed from mud, dry’s into a large grayish clump with cylinder shape cells or tubes in which a paralyzed spider is placed in the cell with a single egg, which is then covered with mud. The hatching larva then feeds on the spider and emerges from the nest. The mud dauber does not defend their nest aggressively and after the cells are sealed the mud dauber does not return.
Some people do not like having mud daubers around because they do fly close to a person, startling them and they can build their nests in inconvenient locations. Yet since they do trap spiders they are helpful in controlling the spider population. The are found widespread though the United Sates and other countries.
So the next time your are out watering, stop and watch the mud dauber in action. The can be quite interesting.
To see more about Central Kansas insects check out our online library and insect knowledge area.