Mud Dauber

Actual Size: 1″

Characteristics: Yellow or black in color, with a thin, thread-like waist

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Construct nests out of mud. Tubes are about 1” long and constructed side by side under eaves, porch ceilings, and more.


  • Known most for their unique nests, which look like organ pipes
  • Best identified by their thread-like waist
  • Undergo a complete metamorphosis in their lifetime from egg to adult

Mud Daubers in Southern California

True to their name, mud daubers construct nests or brood chambers from mud. Across the nation, there are many mud dauber species. Unlike many types of stinging insects, mud daubers are solitary and do not live in big colonies. Besides its unique nest, one of the easiest ways to identify a mud dauber is by its thread-like waist separating its abdomen and thorax, which helps differentiate it from other types of wasps. Mud daubers are not aggressive and typically do not sting unless their nest is directly threatened.

Mud Dauber Habitat

Female mud daubers create the unique nests by constructing short mud tubes side by side. It is in these tubes in which the mud dauber lays her eggs. The female mud dauber collects spiders, paralyzes them with her sting, and then places them inside mud chambers within the nest. She deposits an egg on top of one of the spiders in the chamber before sealing it off. The larval wasp hatches and feeds on the spiders provided, molting several times before pupating and transforming into an adult wasp.

After this unique process, mud daubers often vacate these nests. If you notice a nest with round holes on the outside, the nest is likely inactive.

Mud Dauber Threats

Mud daubers do not defend their nests and are rarely aggressive, making them much different than some of their relatives. These wasps are beneficial insects as the reduce spider populations. Although mud daubers aren’t dangerous, they can still be a nuisance when they are nesting in or near your home. If a nest is found on your property, nest removal should always be handled by a professional wasp control company. Never attempt to knock down or destroy a mud dauber nest.