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Mud Daubers Sphecidae & Crabronidae

Mud daubers are fairly common wasps with narrow or threadlike waists. They are solitary wasps that build their nests out of mud.  They are found throughout the United States including Florida.  There are three common genera.  Two, Sceliphron and Chalybion, belong to the family Sphecidae. The third, Trypoxylon, belongs to the family Crabronidae.  One can identify the different species by coloration and by nest architecture.

The black-and-yellow mud dauber (Sceliphron caementarium) constructs cells side by side or on top of one another, ending up about the size of a lemon.

The organ pipe mud dauber (Trypoxylon politum) is black with blue wings and white “stockings” on the hind legs.  It makes vertical, parallel rows of cells that end up looking like organ pipes.

The blue mud dauber (Chalybion californicum) is a pretty metallic blue.  It does not build new nests, but reuses those of one of the other species.  Instead of mud, it carries water that is used to soften and remodel the mud of older nests.

All of these spiders sting and paralyze spiders that are placed in the cells. The larvae than feed on these spiders.

The photos on this page show a black-and-yellow mud dauber.  They were taken in Deep Creek in Charlotte County.