Mud Dobber Nest Prevention

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ken Scharabok, Mar 19, 2004.

  1. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    May 11, 2002
    Anyone have a way to control mud daubers? They can get into the smallest places to build their nests and it is like chipping out cement sometimes.

    Ken Scharabok
  2. Momo

    Momo Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2002
    North Alabama
    I was hoping you were posting a suggestion. They are terrible. When we tried to use our boat the first time this year they had actually plugged part of the fuel line. How in the heck do they squeeze into every orifice imaginable?

  3. Gimpy_Magoo

    Gimpy_Magoo Well-Known Member

    Jun 17, 2003
    Ahh Mud Daubers.

    The Kansas State bird.

    I feel for you. I WILL be checking this thread for ideas myself.
  4. Ed

    Ed Member

    May 10, 2002

    I've had limited success spraying areas where mud daubers and regular wasps are active with synthetic pyretherins with a little malathion added. I buy my pyretherin at TSC. Pyretherins are non toxic to human and animals. The pyretherin only lasts a few days and is affected by weather conditions. The pyretherin seems to knock wasps down, but not completely out. The malathion seems to finish them off. I generally spray areas when the wasps are active, such as up under my eaves, behind exterior chimneys, my shop, barn gear shed, etc.

    One year the infestation of wasps was so bad that I hooked up my tank spot sprayer and sprayed every exterior surface of every building on the place, plus inside all machinery areas. I've never had to do that since. I think its probably impossible to stop mud daubers, wasps and yellow jackets altogether, but I have been able to somewhat limit their numbers and the controlled spraying also seems to reduce other wasp counts. I don't spray pastures and fields for wasps. In fact, I'm thinking about introducing parasitic predator wasps into my pastures to help control black flies in cattle manure. Predator wasps only live in manure piles and only kill fly larvae.

    Some experts claim there are no effective methods for preventing mud daubers from building nests. I'm including a writeup by one such expert.

    Hope this helps.


    Mud Dauber Wasps

    by Donald Lewis, ISU Extension Entomologist
    Phone: 515-294-1101 - e-mail:

    Mud daubers are solitary wasps that construct small nests of mud in or around homes, sheds, and barns and under open structures, bridges, and similar sites. Several species exist in Iowa. These wasps are long and slender with a narrow, threadlike waist. Some are a solid steel blue or black but others have additional yellow markings.

    This wasp group is named for the nests that are made from mud collected by the females. Mud is rolled into a ball, carried to the nest and molded into place with the wasp’s mandibles. There are three different wasps that practice this behavior. The black and yellow mud dauber builds a series of cylindrical cells that are eventually plastered over with mud to form a smooth mud nest about the size of a fist. The organ-pipe mud dauber, a more robust, black species, builds cylindrical tubes resembling pipe-organ pipes. The third species is a beautiful metallic-blue wasp with blue wings. This one does not build its own mud nest but instead uses the abandoned nests of the black and yellow mud dauber.

    After completing the mud nest the female captures several insects or spiders to provision the cells. Prey are stung and paralyzed before being placed in the nest. A single egg is deposited on the prey within each cell, and the cell sealed with mud. After the wasp has finished a series of cells, she departs and does not return. The larvae that hatch from the eggs feed on the prey items left by the adult wasp. New adult wasps emerge to start the process over again.

    Wasps usually evoke a great deal of anxiety or fear. However, solitary wasps such as the mud daubers do not defend their nest the way social wasps such as hornets and yellowjackets do. Mud daubers are very unlikely to sting, even when thoroughly aroused. They may sting if mishandled.

    Control of these insects is not warranted since they normally pose little threat. Rather, mud daubers should be regarded as beneficial since they remove and use as prey many species of spiders which most people find disagreeable. The mud nests can be scraped off and discarded at night if they are objectionable, or wasp and hornet aerosol sprays can be used to treat nests if desired. There is no proven method that is effective in discouraging wasps from building nests in sheltered or protected areas. Prompt and frequent removal of nests is suggested in areas favored by the wasps.

    Pictures of the nests can be viewed here:

    Note: this information is valid for Iowa. It may or may not apply in your area.
  5. East Texas Pine Rooter

    East Texas Pine Rooter Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2003
    Old House Journal, 15 years ago was talking about painting old houses. They said the ceilings of the porches were painted sky blue, to discourage the mud daubers, and wasp. Did it work, I have no idea.
  6. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    May 11, 2002
    I can live with nests out in the open. It's when you plug and a saw or something and it just goes hummmmmm. Or you hook up a water hose and nothing comes out. Or the gas jets on the BBQ are clogged.

    Ken S. in WC TN
  7. I am a house painter and have been told by several different customers that they paint ceilings blue in the south to keep out ghosts.The first time i thought it was funny but the second had a real spookystory behind it that was resolved by the blue paint.KInda Funny
  8. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

    May 9, 2002
    :) A question as I live in another state. Are you sure you are dealing with mud daubers or do you think it could be Mason Bees? I ask this because here, their habits are different.

    The mud daubers make a nest of three different types but here, don't go into holes or other openings, they just attach the nests to an existing surface. But the Mason Bee goes right into holes and cavities to make their nest. Even into the electrical plug openings out in the car port! Tools with cavities are fair game too. They also, as mentioned by the other poster, like the fuel pipes of the Bar B Q and places like that.

    So, I am just wondering?

    Thanks, LQ
  9. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

    Dec 9, 2003
    Ed said, "Pyretherins are non toxic to human and animals. "

    As an exterminator, I know this is not true. Everything is toxic. Toxicity is like the temperature. Everything has a temperature, some hot, some cold. Everything has a toxicity. Pyrethrins are less toxic to most people because we can metabolize them, but some people have extreme reactions. The symptoms of exposure are similar to asthma. People with asthma can have violent reactions to exposure to pyrethrins.

    The biological information is well done and applies to mud daubers in CO as well as Iowa. While Donald Lewis says, "There is no proven method that is effective in discouraging wasps from building nests in sheltered or protected areas.", you can discourage them to a limited extent with repellent chemicals. Pyrethrins and pyrethroids are very repellent. Pyrethrins are very short lived. Some modern pyrethroids will last six months in the weather. It is impractical and not wise to try to spray everything. However, there are certain areas where they are a nuisance, like around the front porch, that the sprays can work quite well. I would recommend "Home Defense" from homedippy. The active ingredient, bifenthrin is very repellent and lasts 6 months.

    The issue with this insect is usually psychological. If these wasps are building nests in equipment the product above could be very effective in specific spots. Please don't spray everything.

    Stay away from malathion.