If you have ever seen a nest made of mud, chances are you’ve come across a dirt dauber nest. Dirt daubers, also known as mud daubers, are a type of wasp that use mud to build their nests. They look similar to other wasp’s nests but have hollow tubes inside constructed of packed mud. Dirt daubers are generally not aggressive and very rarely do they sting people. It’s still not a wise idea to approach a dirt dauber nest without extreme caution.
Most dirt dauber nests can be found in dark and damp places such as; under the eaves of stairs, in outbuildings and sheds, or corners of porches. Some people don’t mind these spider-eating wasps and keep them around as free pest control. Dirt daubers naturally exterminate various spiders around your home and can be very beneficial. On the other hand, some people may find that the location of a dirt dauber nest is problematic, possibly near an entryway or window. Whatever the reason, there are many ways to get rid of dirt daubers and their nests. Try one of these simple solutions the next time you need to get rid of dirt daubers:
Bring in the Birds
You can place bird feeders in your yard or around your home to attract different types of birds. Most birds eat insects or bugs, and some even go out of their way to feast on dirt daubers and other flying insects. Starlings, magpies, and blackbirds are just some of the birds that seek mud daubers and other wasps. Other birds such as sparrows, bluebirds, woodpeckers, wrens, and Orioles like to occasionally snack on dirt daubers and other insects. This is not a sure-fire way to get rid of dirt daubers, but it is a natural and harmless approach to try. You can’t be positive that the birds will flock to your feeders and find the daubers but it’s worth a shot.
Removing the Nest
If dirt daubers don’t have a nest to call home, they will make one somewhere else. If you notice a dirt dauber nest being made, make sure to wash it off frequently. This will discourage the dirt dauber from continuing to build its nest. If a nest has already been made, then you need to get rid of it. Getting rid of the nest will keep dirt daubers at bay. All you need to do is scrape off the mud nest with a sharp-edged tool such as a putty knife or trowel. After you scrape the nest away, you can wash the area and rinse any existing mud from the surface. If mud is left in the area, you can almost bet the dirt dauber will be back making a new nest very soon. They are drawn to the smell of mud so make sure to give the area a good rinse with warm soapy water.
Insecticides and Paint
As with any other bug or insect there usually is a repellant or spray that you can buy to treat the area or directly on the nest. Most of these insecticides will kill off any problems you may have with mud daubers and other wasps. One of the best on the market is cypermethrin. It usually comes in a concentrated form so you will have to read the directions and mix the proper amounts with water. Then you just spray the solution on the nests or areas where nests are being built, and you will see immediate results. For bad infestations, you may need to repeat the treatment once a week until the infestation has cleared. If you are painting your home or porch, you can add an insect repellant like NBS to your paint or stain. This will easily repel unwanted dirt daubers and other wasps for up to a year.
There is also an old wives’ tale that many people believe will keep your porch free of dirt daubers and other wasps. The trick is simple, blue paint. That’s right, blue paint has been known to keep dirt daubers and other wasps from making nests on porch ceilings, trim, and beams. No one is sure of the actual reason; some say it is because the blue paint tricks the dirt dauber and they think it is the sky so they won’t land on it. Whatever the reason for dirt daubers’ dislike of blue paint, if it works – try it.