Mud daubers are a species of wasp found throughout all of the United States. There are many species found in urban areas all of which are likely to nest on your home. Included on this list is the organ pipe, the black and yellow, the blue, the potter wasp and the mason species. These wasps are so categorized because they create larva rearing mud tubes where young wasps will hatch and develop. Typically you’ll find their nests on the sides of your home but they can choose many locations to build them like boats, electric panels and even cars.
MUD DAUBER NESTS ^
Mud daubers like to construct nests between brick in mortar joints, where wood trim facia boards and molding meet and around window and door frames. Though they all seem to be the same type of nest, in fact each species has distinct characteristics associated with design patterns of the mud. The easiest to identify is the organ pipe whose nests are long and resemble the way the pipes of an organ sit. Black and yellow daubers build their nests more on top of each other and the other species are different still. Regardless of the way these nests are constructed, mud daubers frighten many people and have been mistaken for termites on too many occasions.
MUD DAUBER BIOLOGY ^
Most mud daubers feed on spiders. Females seek out spiders, sting them and deposit their bodies in the back of a larva cell of their nest. An egg is then laid on the spider for the young so when it hatches, it will have plenty of food on which to feed.
A female will typically have several eggs in a single “pipe” and will have 3-6 pipes per nest. If conditions allow, she may have more than one nest. Its not just coincidence that nests seem to prevail on certain homes. It appears to be homes which are stucco, brick or other porous, rough surfaces which this wasp definitely seems to like. No doubt its both easier to build nests on such surfaces as well as the fact that nests seem to “hold together” better on them too. This lends credence to the theory that daubers generated from nests built on such surfaces are more likely to use an identical surface for their own reproductive egg laying.
CAN MUD DAUBERS STING? ^
Most definitely. But they’re not as likely to sting as other species. Mud daubers generally use their stinger for food and will not sting unless provoked. The rule here is simple; avoid handling them and don’t put your hand by their nests and you should avoid getting stung. That being said, you don’t want to let them build nests on your boat, home, deck, patio, etc. where you want to spend time relaxing!
BEST MUD DAUBER SPRAY ^
Like most wasps, mud daubers don’t like CYPERMETHRIN. This product is both easy to use and works great at controlling local infestations. Your method of treatment will vary on the time of the year you are treating. If it is spring and they have just begun nest making, simply spray the Cypermethrin on the sides of the home where there is activity.
Use 1 oz per gallon of water and use 1 gallon per 500 sq/ft of surface area. Treatments should repel them from the area; nests directly treated will die off within a few days.
For most treatments, simple PUMP SPRAYER is all you need to apply the solution.
If you have heights of 15 feet or more, use a HOSE END SPRAYER to make the application. Using the power of your garden hose, you can generally treat any home in very little time and reach 20-25 feet up which can be helpful.
No doubt the hose end sprayer is easy to use. But it will use more product to do the job compared to the pump sprayer.
On the flip side, the pump sprayer may not be able to reach quite high enough so you may need both pieces of equipment.
Which ever you use, try to get about 500 sq/ft of coverage per gallon of material used.
And remember that most homes will need 2-4 gallons to get adequate protection. Although you may only see activity on one side of the home, try to treat as many sides as you can. This will prevent them from simply moving to the untreated side of your house instead of moving off your property completely. Expect to make applications about once a month throughout the spring and then a few more during the year.
Cypermethrin works well on mud daubers and treatments will both kill and repel them from the area. Its also good for use on plants and other areas in the yard where unwanted wasps might be active.
USING WASP FREEZ FOR MUD DAUBERS IS MESSY! ^
For 1-2 nests, WASP FREEZE can be used. But keep in mind it uses a heavy oil which can stain most any finish. And treatments won’t last. So for most mud dauber problems, wasp freeze is not a good option. And since the overspray can suffocate any kind of ground cover or flower, you must be careful when using it in the yard too.
HOW TO TREAT HIDDEN MUD DAUBER NESTS UNDER DECKS OR ON BOATS ^
Since mud daubers will routinely nest in hidden spaces like under decks or in cracks or crevices, the liquid Cypermethrin is not always the best option. It just doesn’t penetrate these spaces well and since any wasp will sense its presence, they’ll avoid the treatment. This will allow them to relocate and build nests where you missed with the spray.
Furthermore, mud daubers like to nest on cars or boats and once they get “scented” with mud dauber pheromones, more will be coming around throughout the wasp season.
Fortunately there is an active that works as a “non repellent”. Known as PHANTOM AEROSOL, this active won’t be noticed by mud daubers or any other insect. They’ll readily walk over the treatment and in turn, pick up a lethal dose. It will take a good 2-3 days to kill them but this is by design and normal. The good news is they won’t know its there which insures they pick up a lethal dose and die.
Phantom can be sprayed on boats without hurting the deck and its ideal for use in the cracks and gaps found on decks, brick work, etc. Use it every 2 weeks when they’re active and remember a little goes a long way.
HOW TO PREVENT MUD DAUBERS ^
Within a week of spraying with cypermethrin, mud daubers will be gone. To keep them away all summer, spray once every 1-2 months during the warm season.
For a more “permanent” solution, add some NBS REPELLENT to your paint or stain the next time you apply any to your homes siding. NBS uses essential plant oils and will readily repel wasps for up to a year or more when used as an additive. You can also spray NBS to repel mud daubers but keep in mind its not an insecticide so it won’t kill any already active. But it does a good job of keeping them away and can be used on plants, etc. where wasps are unwanted.
Mix 3 oz per gallon of water and spray the mixture over 500 sq/ft of surface area for up to 4 weeks of repellent action. Renew monthly to keep them away for good.
Mud daubers are persistent once they identify your home as a place they like to nest. But if you’re able to treat early in the spring, you can expect 1-3 treatments to keep your home dauber free for the season. If you have a big infestation, it will require removing active nests and spraying over as much of the home as possible. This will insure they don’t simply move over to untreated areas.
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