Tag Archives: daubers

Ever Wonder……..What’s the Purpose of Mud Daubers?

Mud Dauber Nest,  Photo by B.LaVergne, July 2013
Mud Dauber Nest, Photo by B.LaVergne, July 2013
Black Widow Spider on Leaves, Photo by D.Konarik, July 2013
Black Widow Spider on Leaves, Photo by D.Konarik, July 2013

Common Name: Mud daubers
Scientific Name:  Chalybion, Sceliphron and other genera
Order:  Hymenoptera: Sphecidae

Mud daubers (or “dirt daubers”) can really make a mess of your porches, using the red clay mud from area ponds & creek beds for their nests.   Dauber nests are made of mud into cylindrical shaped cells.   These cells are filled with various types of prey, largely consisting of spiders; and in our area, the daubers like black & brown widow spiders.   David Konarik has provided us a couple of pictures of the dangerous Black Widow Spider.   The spider is caught & injected with venom from the wasp paralyzing it, yet not killing the spider.   After being paralyzed, the wasp or dauber deposits the spider(s) into a cell of its nest along with at least one egg.   The dauber will close the cell never to return to that particular cell.   As the new wasp larva develops, it feeds on the paralyzed spider(s).   So next time you are pestered by the mud daubers, remember they actually do provide a beneficial service in keeping down the numbers of spiders in our area of Texas.   See if you can catch a Mud Dauber in the act of seizing its prey & paralyzing it!   And if you do, please send us the picture to share here on ORWMA’s website.   We’ve also included a link to some additional information from Texas A&M University Department of Entomology for your reading pleasure.   https://insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/cimg334.html

 

Black Widow Spider, Photo by D.Konarik, July 2013
Black Widow Spider, Photo by D.Konarik, July 2013