Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mud Dauber

Well I've been busy in a backyard project and haven't been behind the lens too often this summer.  However, I had to take a few images of this mud dauber (sometimes called a mud wasp, dirt dobber, and other similar names) that decided to build its nest on the side of our house.  It makes the nest out of mud.  Here's an image of the nest when once we realized it was there:

They are solitary insects so there is only ever one that is continually building the nest.  The image above is approximately 4 cylinders (cells), 3 covered up and one open.  The wasp will sting a spider which paralyzes it (it does not kill the spider) and place it in an open cell.  Each cell will contain one egg that is usually placed on the spider and once the larvae hatches, it will consume the spider.  I have read that it will sometimes put more than one spider per cell but only one egg.  The wasp will then close off the cell and start a new one.

I have watched the wasp make new cells and close some up but I have yet seen it bring a spider into the nest.  Here are a couple ofimages of the wasp adding some mud to a new cell:

Everytime I watch, the wasp finishes by going inside and finally exits and spends some time cleaning before taking off for more mud - and spiders! 

Since these images, the wasp has added at least another 4-5 cells. 

Enjoy the post!