Yellow and black mud dauber constructing a nest cell.
Photo: Howard Ensign Evans, Bugwood.org
Mud daubers are wasp-like insects that construct nests from mud. They make a variety of nests ranging from elaborate structures (i.e., multiple tubes several inches long or small vase-like nests attached to plant stems) to merely 'plastering' up existing cracks or crevices in wood, stone, or masonry. These nests are brood chambers for raising their young. The nests are constructed as or divided into cells about one inch in length and usually are stocked with spiders, which have been immobilized by the females' stings. An egg is laid in each cell that has been stocked with several prey individuals. When the egg hatches, the larvae feed on the prey.
To learn more about these interesting and beneficial insects, see HGIC 2512, Mud Daubers.
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