All the splashing from our swimming in the river, as well as the waves from passing motor boats, has provided the mud wasps with the perfect source of mud for their "quarrying". The area where the mud wasps have been gathering mud has been a busy place the last few weeks.
Process of a mud dauber wasp making a mud ball.These black wasps with yellow legs and markings are a striking sight as they roam the muddy areas hunting for locations with just the right moisture content and consistency to build their mud nests.
We followed the flying wasps on several occasions (by charging across the yard)... in hopes of finding where they were building their nests.
Mud Dauber wasp making a mud nestWhen the Black-and-Yellow Mud Dauber Wasp builds a nest it fashions a number of cylindrical mud tubes, each about the size of a AAA battery. Several tubes are placed parallel with each other in a row. A second row of tubes may even be stacked on top of first row. Each one of those mud tubes, or cells, is stuffed with paralyzed spiders. Also, each finished cell contains a mud wasp egg. When a wasp larva hatches, it feeds on the helpless spiders contained in its cell.
We plan to watch as the nest progresses. I plan to take pictures as the wasp's artwork advances.
Mud Dauber Wasp Nest, Part II), I expect to show pictures of the mud wasp's nest as it develops and is completed. I also plan to post more about nest's contents. In the meantime, here is a link to another post with photos of Black-and-yellow Mud Dauber wasp gathering mud. Also, here is a link to an earlier post I did about a Black-and-yellow Mud Dauber Wasp nest and its spider contents.