16 August, 2012

My New Tenant Is A Mud Dauber Wasp

Lynnafred went out the back door this afternoon to let the dogs out and got bumped in the forehead by a mud dauber wasp which was building her nest on the lintel above the back door to the mud room off the kitchen.

Although Lynnafred was startled, she wasn't stung. The wasp corrected course and went out the exterior door on whatever waspy business she had, while Lynnafred sat on the back steps and supervised the dogs.

She called me at work to ask if we had any wasp spray, but we don't, so I just advised her to keep clear of the nest if she could and I'd take care of it when I got home.

I did some research about mud dauber wasps in the meantime, though, and now I'm not sure I'm going to do any killin'.

Mud daubers are fairly docile - at least as docile as European honeybees - and they do not become aggressive in defense of their nests. They might clumsily fly into a human if one happens to cross their flight path, but they very rarely sting, preferring to back up and change their course to fly off in another direction.

They are voracious insect predators, and they especially love to capture spiders, which they stuff into their nests as a living food bank for their eggs.

After a quick family discussion over dinner, we decided to live and let live with the wasp, at least for the time being. You see, the nest is in the mud room. Not actually in the house, but still on the wrong side of a door for reliable outdoor access. I'm not sure our new tenant will be totally okay with being trapped in the mud room a lot of the time.

On the other hand, if we close the exterior door while the wasp is out hunting, it will have no problem seeking somewhere else to live. Mud daubers, if denied access to their nest, don't get pissed off and stabby about it. They just go somewhere else and start over again.


Anonymous said...

Organ pipe mud daubers are common here in Maryland. It's true that they are very docile and they control the spider population. But, I dislike removing the old pipes from the wall. Yuck.

Dave said...

Grew up in farm country in the Great American Outback. Mud daubers were VERY common. And harmless. I don't know of anyone EVER getting zinged by one. Everyone just co-exists with them. Paper wasps - now those are mean motor scooters and will sting you just for shits and giggles. Either the red or the blue version. I leave them strictly on their own until I can find the Raid or Black Flag.