The mud dauber is the world’s most peaceful wasp. They come from the family of Sphecidae and the order of Hymenoptera, as well as belonging to the orders of ants, bees and wasps.
These insects rarely sting humans, but they should not be underestimated despite their thin twig-like bodies. They are tough and still have the ability to defend and hunt prey by stinging, just like their wasp relatives.
Like female worker bees, the mud daubers seen outside are all female. They are either looking for food for themselves or for their larvae back at their hive. Fully-grown mud daubers’ diets consist of nectar and sap, where as larvae’s diet mainly on spiders. The most favored spider that is usually devoured by the mud dauber larvae is one of the most poisonous spiders in the world: the black widow.
While males protectively guard the hive, mother mud daubers hunt spiders and bring them back to the hive. When she has stung her prey, she injects it with a paralyzing poison. This poison does not kill it, but it keeps it fresh, unmoving and alive.
After bringing the spider back to the hive, she picks out a cell and then seals it shut leaving an unhatched larvae with its awaiting meal. Mud dauber larvae feed on the spider during the winter and by the time spring comes they are already grown and ready to be on their own.
Addie T. Lindsay is 16 years old. She is an accomplished writer and photographer of wildlife creatures, big and small. She can be reached at CritterChatter@live.com.