Friday, August 04, 2006
Mud Dauber Secrets
This Mud Dauber wasp nest was in the small shed that shelters a mower, a tiller, and assorted garden tools. Mud Daubers gathe wet mud from pond and stream banks and then carry the tiny ball of mud back to the nest site. The walls of the nest are created from this "cement".These nests look strong, but they melt in the rain, hence the daubers always look for a sheltered spot to build. I popped this one off the shed ceiling. You are looking at the flat side of the nest that was against the metal roof.
You can see 4 chambers. The two on the right contain older larvae that are already wrapped up and pupating into adulthood.
The far left chamber was stuffed full of paralyzed spiders and one tiny grubby larva. The larva (about one centimeter long) is perched on the edge of his brood chamber after I used a small probe to pull out the contents of his spidery larder.
In the second chamber from the left was a much larger larva and the partial remains of one spider. I assume from his size and empty cupboard that he was about to pupate. Again, I used the probe to lift him out for the photo. He's lying partially on the smaller larva and you can see how much larger he is.
All of the paralyzed spiders in the photo came out of the one brood chamber at the far left. A nest like this can have 8 to 10 chambers, each stuffed with paralyzed spiders.
Mud Daubers are probably a major check on the spider population.
I'm a check on both of them when they choose my porch for their nest habitat.