Tuesday, October 13, 2009

DIARY OF A MUD DAUBER

The mud dauber wasp is a frequent visitor to our house. Maybe he is attracted to the color of the stucco which is very similar to the color of the mud he uses to build his nests. Or at least this is what I thought until recently.

September 21st 2009

The solitary female wasp began building her nest right by our back door; the most frequently used door in the house, and I just let her carry on. The first three cells were completed and I assume she has stuffed each one full of spiders which have been paralyzed. She then laid an egg in each cell, closed up the entry and began work on another. Three have already been completed and she is busy at work on the fourth.

September 25th 2009

Here she is busy closing up another cell. This is one busy little wasp and you can imagine my coming in and out of the house rather disturbed the process. So many times I walked out and right into the action that I quickly became conditioned with the startle response even when she wasn't there. Still I let her carry on.

September 28th 2009

I thought the cells blended in very well with the stucco but she now decided to do a bit of a camouflage job.

October 5th 2009

That seems a little odd. A white cell with a brown door!

October 6th 2009

Now things are looking better again.

October 8th 2009

Oh, no! Several people in the neighborhood must have had soil delivered. Some got red death and some chocolate loam.

October 9th 2009

When it dried out this was the final product. I think this mud dauber must be a little mad.
We usually knock the cells off whenever we see them but I might just let this one stay. The egg will hatch inside and the larva will feast on the spiders before pupating and emerging as an adult. I will be interested to see how many hatch next spring.

3 comments:

  1. You are a kind and gentle soul to allow this right at your doorway. While the construction is beautiful and the worker to be admired for diligence, red death HA, I would be afraid she or the offspring would accidently fly into the house. But your attitude is perfect, live and let live. :-)
    Frances

    ReplyDelete
  2. They live on our front porch wall too. It is funny that our muddaubers always find yellow clay. Where I don't know because most of the soil around our house is dark and sandy. Interesting creatures. No one has ever been stung by these wasps either.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is funny. Perhaps she likes the mosaic look. :) We have many Dirt Daubers here, not sure of how many species: one is a Pipe Organ Dauber, and then there are those that build mud castles and have nervous metallic black-blue wings. They get very inquisitive in the fall, but I have never been stung. Paper wasps, on the other hand...

    ReplyDelete