Honeybees and yellow jackets get a lot of attention, but they're not the only yellow and black flying insects that you may encounter in your backyard. You may also encounter a lesser known pest, the black and yellow mud dauber. Here are five things you need to know about these pests.
How do you identify these pests?
Black and yellow mud daubers are usually about one inch long and are very slender. Their waists are very long and are about twice the length as the rest of their abdomens. Their bodies are mostly black, but they have yellow markings on their bodies and legs; these markings can vary from one individual to another.
Where are mud daubers found?
Black and yellow mud daubers are found throughout North America. You may find their nests in sheltered locations like man-made shelters or natural hiding places like rock formations. Their nests are made of mud and are about the same size and shape as a lemon. They live in the same places year after year, and over the years, they add additional nests to the area. You may discover multiple nests and assume that you have an infestation, but the same mud dauber could have built all of them.
Are they dangerous?
Mud daubers are not aggressive like other types of flying pests, so you don't need to worry too much if you find them living in your backyard. Stings are very rare, but you still need to be careful. If you threaten them by getting too close or by trying to destroy their nest, they will defend their home and may sting you.
How can mud daubers benefit you?
Black and yellow mud daubers feed on another pest that you might not like very much, spiders. They're the main predator of both black and brown widow spiders, and they eat a lot of them. Inside of their nests, they have about 25 cells, and within each of these cells, they may store as many as 40 spiders. Once they've collected all of these spiders, they lay an egg inside the cell and then seal it. The baby mud dauber will eat the spiders when it hatches.
How can you get rid of them?
If you don't want mud daubers in your backyard, you can get rid of them by yourself. Getting rid of mud daubers isn't too hard since they're solitary insects and their nests are small. You need to spray the nest with an insecticide that is meant for bees and wasps. Make sure to spray the eggs as well, or they'll hatch and you'll be right back where you started.
If you're not sure if the flying insects in your backyard are black and yellow mud daubers, contact a pest control company like Albemarle Termite & Pest Control for help identifying them.