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How to Get Rid of Mud Dauber Nests

May 16, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Mud dauber nests are constructed of a series of tunnel-like structures in walls, under roof overhangs, corners, or other surfaces. Use this comprehensive guide to learn everything you need to know about mud dauber wasps and how to safely remove their nests from your home’s exterior.

What are mud daubers?

Mud daubers are several species of wasps that build their nests out of mud. These species include organ pipe mud daubers, black-and-yellow mud daubers, and blue mud daubers. They’re commonly found across the U.S. Although their appearance varies from species to species, most adult mud daubers are around 1⁄2- to 1 inch long. They’re typically black but can have pale markings or a blue, metallic luster. Mud daubers are solitary wasps and don’t live in colonies.

Close up of a mud dauber standing on dirt outdoors

What does a mud dauber nest look like? 

Mud dauber nests on the wall look like tunneled structures. You can find them on exterior walls, roof overhangs, roof corners, deck undersides, pergolas, and open umbrellas. The size and shapes of their nests vary, but they’re most often gray, brown, or tan and appear mostly round or cylindrical. Mud dauber nests can be challenging to spot since they tend to be well camouflaged and are often built in tucked-away areas.

Close up of a mud dauber nest on an eucalyptus tree trunk

How to get rid of a mud dauber nest 

Most mud dauber nests are quick and easy to remove, even though they’re firmly attached to their support. When removing a mud dauber nest, wear long sleeves and protective gloves. The risk of stinging is low since mud daubers are non-aggressive and don’t defend their nests. The evening is typically the best time to remove a nest when the mud dauber isn’t present.

Cleanup is similar to removing any other type of mud or dirt from your home. Use a paint scraper to gently scrape the nest off the surface, then use soap and warm water to remove any rings or residue. You can also spray the nest off the side of your home using a sprayer attachment on your hose. As the mud softens, it will fall off.

How to remove mud dauber nests from stucco

Removing mud dauber nests from stucco is similar to removing them from any other surface—you can scrape it off with a paint scraper. Avoid digging at your stucco surface to prevent chips or damage to your home’s exterior. Once most of the nest has been removed, use a spray bottle filled with warm soapy water to moisten any remaining residue, and use a soft rag to wipe it away. Avoid harsh sprayers like power washers or strong hose attachments to keep your stucco surface in good condition.

How to remove mud dauber nest stains 

If a mud dauber nest has been on your exterior surface for a long time, it may leave a stain after it’s removed. These stains are usually easy to remove with a bit of elbow grease. A soft cleaning brush or soft brush dipped in a warm soap and water solution can help. Move the brush in a circular motion and wipe away the residue. After removing the stain, gently flush the area with water to remove any leftover soap. 

How does a mud dauber build its nest? 

New adult female mud dauber wasps construct their nests of mud tubes in varying sizes. To start her nest, she finds a protected, shady area near a potential supply of mud. The mud dauber searches for mud with just the right consistency for her home. Typically, mud daubers collect mud from at least two different sources. Clay soil is their favorite. She uses her mandibles to scrape soft mud and then rolls it into a small ball she holds between her front legs.

At the nest site, the mud dauber presses the mud ball into position using her head and mandibles. She smooths the mud out using her saliva to shape each short tube. A single tube contains several sealed chambers and requires 30 to 40 loads of mud.

Each mud tube is filled with several spiders that the female mud dauber catches and paralyzes with her venom. The female mud dauber deposits an egg on the first spider within each mud tube, then seals them shut with mud.

Mud dauber building a nest on a piece of green wood

When do mud daubers build nests? 

Mud daubers build their nests in the spring after overwintering as developing pupae. This process can start as early as March and continue through the summer. If a mud dauber nest is destroyed, female mud daubers will construct a new nest in a new location with similar features.

How to stop mud daubers from building nests

Because they prefer secluded areas, preventing access to the shady, hidden areas of your home’s exterior can help to deter them from your home. Frequently having the exterior of your home cleaned or power-washed is a good way to help reduce the number of mud dauber nests you’ll see.

Pest control services 

The best way to remove mud dauber nests from your home is to hire a professional pest control service like Hawx Pest Control. With proven methods, qualified technicians, and the best products and services available, Hawx is the undisputed leader in pest control solutions. We use a three-fold process to address infestations thoroughly, and we create a custom treatment plan to suit your needs and restore peace to your outdoor spaces.

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