• 79°

Darrell Blackwelder: Mud daubers build their nests in the summer

Mud dauber nest

If you live anywhere near water — a lake, pond, or creek — you’re probably going to have cylinders of mud pipes from mud daubers decorating the outside of your home. We’ve found them under the eaves of our house, under patio umbrellas — even in our car doors. Mud daubers, also known as dirt daubers or mud wasps, are frantically building nests during the summer season.

These are solitary, predatory wasps and like most wasps feed on nectar but also actively hunt small spiders, including black widows, for their young. As the nests are being built, females cram as many very small spiders as possible, up to a dozen victims, in each cell. The spiders found in the cells ironically are not dead, but are paralyzed from a sting as a ready food source for their young hatchlings. The wasps lay one egg per cell on these spiders and then carefully seal the mud pipes. There are often several pipes attached like condominiums for their brood.

Mud daubers look ferocious; however, they are not aggressive and rarely sting unlike paper wasps or yellow jackets. Only the female mud dauber has the ability to sting. Mud daubers have problems with other parasitic wasps as they often pirate captured spiders and offspring as food for their young.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired horticulture agent and director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Contact him at deblackw@ncsu.edu .

Comments

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges

Local

Rep. Amber Baker discusses legislative session during Rowan Democrats breakfast meeting

Local

Thousands of locals, out-of-towners gather for a groovy time at annual Hippie Fest

News

N.C. Zoo ready for expansion if lawmakers OK funding

Education

RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest

Local

Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction

Business

Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured

Education

Profoundly gifted: Salisbury boy finishing high school, associates degree at 12

Local

Cheerwine Festival will stick to Main Street, stay away from new park in September

Lifestyle

Celebrating Rowan County’s early cabinetmakers

Education

Service Above Self announces youth challenge winners

Business

Economic Development Commission creates search tool for people seeking Rowan County jobs

Columns

Amy-Lynn Albertson: Arts and Ag Farm Tour set for June 5

High School

High school baseball: Mustangs top Falcons on strength of hurlers

Business

Biz Roundup: Application process now open for Rowan Chamber’s 29th Leadership Rowan class

Sports

Keith Mitchell leads McIlroy, Woodland by 2 at Quail Hollow

Nation/World

States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes

Nation/World

Major US pipeline halts operations after ransomware attack

News

NC budget dance slowed as GOP leaders differ on bottom line

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting

Coronavirus

People receiving first dose of COVID-19 vaccine grows by less than 1%