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Mud Dauber vs Paper Wasp

mud dauber vs paper wasp
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    Mud daubers are a variety of wasp that fall into the order of Hymenoptera wasps. This is the same order as the paper wasp, but several characteristics make mud daubers and paper wasps very different. Their physical characteristic, their method of finding food, the method they use for forming their nests, and their behavior can differ.

    Are you aware of the differences between a paper wasp and mud dauber? Whether you’re looking at habitat comparison or something different, you can learn a lot that will help you protect your property.

    After all, certain species of wasps can be beneficial to your yard if you feel it’s safe to leave them alone where they are. If left alone, you can often get rid of some other harmful insects on your property by letting the wasps do their job.

    Nest Comparison

    Mud daubers are commonly identified because of the type of nest that they create. The female mud daubers carry mud back to the nest as it’s under construction. The nest will then be formed in small cylindrical spaces using the mud. The nest itself will be about the size of a fist at its largest.

    Paper wasp queens construct their nest by forming a pulp out of chewed-up wood fibers. The nest will look like it’s made of thin pieces of paper, and it generally hangs under overhangs on your house or shed. The paper wasp nest tends to be a lot larger than a mud dauber’s home.

    Sting Comparison

    Mud daubers sting, but they generally only sting their prey to paralyze them. Even if you were to disturb a mud dauber or come very close to their nest, they wouldn’t be likely to sting you.

     A paper wasp is a bit more aggressive. They don’t come after humans for no reason, but they’re pretty quick to sting you if they think you’re a threat to their colony or their nest. 

     Diet Comparison

     Both mud dauber and paper wasp larvae will feed off the insect body parts brought to them by the workers. However, mud daubers are very well known for consuming spiders. When a mud dauber stings a spider to paralyze it and kill it, they will actually bring the entire spider back to their nest. After feeding off some of the spiders, the body will go into a specific portion of the nest in a cocoon-like structure.

    The queen dauber will come to that area, lay an egg in the cocoon, and the larvae will feed on that spider until they are grown and can leave the nest independently.

     Paper wasps will feed insects to their larvae, but the adult workers will consume nectar from nearby plants and flowers. Paper wasps do not use any kind of process to bring an entire insect back to the nest. They generally bring back certain body parts that will be used for the larvae’s meal.

     Appearance Comparison

     mud dauber vs paper wasp appearance

     The body of adult mud daubers is very thin, with a waist that looks like a thin thread. Unlike paper wasps, they are usually all one color (dark in color), but some species will have yellow markings. They will be just under one inch in length at their most mature level. This makes them slightly smaller than the paper wasp. Some larger varieties can grow to almost 1.5 inches in length, but these are wasps native to certain areas in Africa.

     The paper wasp has a more oval body, and they lack the very thin segmented body in their midsection. Their wings are black, and their yellow markings tend to be subtle. They are larger than the mud dauber as they grow slightly larger than one inch at their full maturity. Of course, the queen will be a bit larger. 


     If you spot a wasp nest on your property or you think you see a queen or worker in the area, take a moment to inspect their characteristics. If you can determine if that wasp is a mud dauber or paper wasp, you can make an educated decision regarding whether or not you should remove the wasp from your property.

    A mud dauber nest can usually be left alone, even if it’s in an area of your property that has a lot of people passing through. Because the mud dauber isn’t very aggressive, you shouldn’t worry too much about removing their nest right away.

    If you’re sure that you’re dealing with paper wasps, then this is something a bit more important to worry about. They’ll sting you if you threaten them in any way, so their nest being nearby isn’t something you should feel overly comfortable with.





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