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Dirt dauber or mud dauber nest

Home Maintenance Tip: Do You Have Dirt Daubers?

Posted on July 29, 2016

Have you noticed cylindrical tubes made of mud attached to the eave or your house? If so, you may have dirt daubers, also called mud daubers.

Dirt daubers are a type of non-aggressive wasp that usually do not sting unless threatened. They are black or blue metallic in color with thread-like waists. Their nests look like organ pipes made of mud.  Female mud daubers search for spiders as food for their larvae, use their stingers to paralyze them and then transport the spiders back to their nests.  If there are dirt daubers on your house, then you also have lots of spiders nearby.

Dirt daubers are solitary wasps. They do not defend their nests like social wasps such as hornets and yellow jackets do. Their nests are located on vertical or horizontal surfaces in protected areas beneath roofs or on overhangs. Dirt daubers will use mud to plaster over cracks in wood or masonry. They also can build nests in holes in lawn furniture or equipment. Some species of mud daubers repair old nests while others only use the nest for one year.

Dirt daubers can be considered beneficial insects since they reduce the number of spiders that most homeowners do not want in or around their home. Mud daubers are more of a nuisance when they use our homes as the location for their nests. If a family member is allergic to wasps, then ridding your home of dirt daubers is important. Also, abandoned dirt dauber larvae and spider prey from old nests are attractive to carpet beetles and other insects that can invade your home.


There are five steps involved in removing dirt daubers from your home and preventing their return.

  1. Inspect your home looking for dirt dauber nests looking particularly along the roof eave areas of any structures on your property.
  2. Swat dirt daubers with a broom or fly swatter if necessary.
  3. Reduce the attractiveness of your house to dirt daubers. This is achieved by ridding your home of spiders, their primary prey. Use a broom to clean spider webs from the exterior of your home on a regular basis.
  4. Seal cracks in siding and trim to eliminate areas where spiders live and hide as well as areas that are potential nesting areas for mud daubers. Screen other holes and openings.
  5. Use a putty knife to scrape off old, inactive nests from your home’s surfaces. Some dirt dauber species will reuse their nests. Promptly removing the nests will discourage mud daubers from building new nests. Alternatively, use a garden hose and a strong stream of water to knock nests down.

Removing dirt daubers from your home is an important part of home maintenance. Contact a pest control company if you are allergic to wasps or if you do not feel comfortable with this job.

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