Posts Tagged ‘mud-dauber wasps’


Day Four of Summer. The weather gurus are predicting temperatures in the low 80’s/upper 70’s for the next week. It has been so cool for so long that 80 degrees actually feels hot to me. Have I finally acclimated to the lower Willamette Valley? I would hate to think so!!

It’s just that I have been so “summer-starved” that I am taking “upper seventies” and running with it.

Today I spent an hour trying to get a good photograph of the mud-dauber wasps that are always hanging out around the garage. I like mud-daubers. They can sting and they do carry a “whollop” of a sting but they are not aggressive wasps. You really have to piss them off to get stung. Most wasps fall into that category (including yellow jackets but they *are* aggressive wasps). In fact, the only two “aggressive” bees/wasps I am somewhat “afraid” of are yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets.

I don’t jump around and freak out. I might duck, but I try to avoid sudden movements with wasps. I’ve allowed yellow-jackets to crawl on my arm and bite me: did you know they like to taste you? They won’t sting unless you jerk suddenly. Bald-faced hornets are a whole lot more aggressive but I’ve never had one land on me.

Truth is, I have been stung by more bees than I have been stung by wasps. I once stuck my arm into a wasp nest (I didn’t know it was there, I promise) and I got enough stings to make my arm swell for days. But usually I feel something crawling on me and give it a swat only to find it was a bee – and the bee stung me as it tried to defend its life. bees can only sting once. They lose their stinger and die.

Wasps can sting multiple times.

On a side-note: as a hobby entomologist I HATE it when people confuse bees and wasps. They aren’t the same thing. Yellow jackets are NOT bees. Honey bees don’t attack you (unless they have been crossed with the aggressive African honey bee (aka “Killer Bees”) unless you seriously piss them off. I am teaching my grandsons to respect the hordes or honey bees and bumble bees in my yard.

Bumblebees are pretty mellow, too, unless you start jumping and swatting. I like to stand in the rhododendrons when the bumble bees cover them. The bees buzz and look at you, but they aren’t willing to sting you (and therefore die) unless you hurt them. Only times I have been stung by bumblebees was when I picked a flower where one was sleeping and I didn’t notice. OOPS.

Bees die when they sting you.

Wasps go on living unless you stomp them.

Anyway, the mud-daubers are especially black this year. Usually they are more yellow. I am not sure what makes the difference. This year they seem to be more black than yellow. Whatever. They are fascinating creatures.

For one thing, they are fairy-like in flight.

For another, I am not sure what they are looking for: water? They don’t go to flowers for nectar but they do like the the hummingbird feeders.

They are solitary. But they are not. They build individual cells for one-time hatches out of mud-and-water.

And here are my hard- earned photos.

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