Black and yellow mud dauber

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Black and yellow mud dauber
Sceliphron caementarium MHNT Profil.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Sphecidae
Genus: Sceliphron
Species: S. caementarium
Binomial name
Sceliphron caementarium
(Drury, 1773)
Sceliphron caementarium, lateral view

Black and yellow mud dauber is a common name for the sphecid wasp species Sceliphron caementarium. They are solitary insects that build nests out of mud, in sheltered locations, frequently on man-made structure such as bridges, barns, open porches or under the eaves of houses. These nests are not aggressively defended, and stings are rare.

Mentions in Popular Media[edit]

[1] In 1996, Birgenair Flight 301 crashed near Puerto Rico. The most probable cause of this Boeing 757 crash was a blockade in a Pitot tube (device for air speed measurement) by a mud dauber's nest.[2]


The black and yellow mud dauber's nest comprises a series of cylindrical cells that are plastered over to form a smooth nest that may attain nearly the size of a human fist. After building a cell, the female wasp captures several spiders. The captured prey are stung and paralyzed before being placed in the nest, and then a single egg is deposited on the prey within each cell. The wasp then seals the cell with mud.[3] After finishing a series of cells, she leaves and does not return. Eventually, the hatching larva will eat the prey and emerge from the nest. A common species of cuckoo wasp, Chrysis angolensis, is frequently a cleptoparasite in Sceliphron nests, and is only one of many different insects that parasitize these mud daubers.[1]

There are some 30 other species of Sceliphron that occur throughout the world, though in appearance and habits they are quite similar to S. caementarium. S. caementarium is widespread in Canada, the United States, Central America, South Africa and the West Indies, and has been introduced to many Pacific Islands (including Australia, Hawaii and Japan), Peru and Europe,[4] where it has become established in the western Mediterranean Basin.[5]


  1. ^ a b L. Kulzer (1996). "The Black & Yellow Mud Dauber". Scarabogram 195: 2–3. 
  2. ^ "Wasp's dangerous reputation belies its positive attributes". Florida Weekly. 2014-05-15. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  3. ^ Milne, Lorus; Milne, Margery (August 2003) [Originally Published October 1st 1980]. Field Guide to Insects & Spiders. New York: Alfred A Knopf, Inc. pp. 844–845. ISBN 0-394-50763-0. 
  4. ^ "Mud dauber wasp". Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. 
  5. ^ A. Ćetković, I. Radović & L. Ðorović (2004). "Further evidence of the Asian mud-daubing wasps in Europe (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae)". Entomological Science 7 (3): 225–229. doi:10.1111/j.1479-8298.2004.00067.x.