What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mud Dauber with Araneus – Square Peg in a Round Hole!
Location: Thousand Hills State Park – Kirksville, MO
September 4, 2014 1:10 pm
Hi, Bugman!
I saw this rather interesting sight at work today. Apparently we have a Black and Yellow Mud Dauber nesting inside the hollows of our steel office door, and she has been getting in through a tiny gap above the door handle. I had seen a mud dauber hanging around the area, but didn’t realize there was one nesting there until I saw her on top of the door lever. At first I thought that she might be injured, but on closer inspection, she was trying to squeeze through the gap with a particularly rotund spider she had caught! I managed to snap some photos of the mud dauber doing some very amusing gymnastics, struggling to get the spider through the gap, before she left. Sadly, when she did give up and fly away, she did not drop the spider, which would have been helpful for identification! The most I can narrow down the spider is to the genus Araneus – which I realize, given the huge number of species under that umbrella, is like seeing an A-10 Warthog and identifying i t as ‘an aircraft of some kind.’ I was hoping you might have more luck in finding out what kind of spider our mud dauber had flown in, but, if not, then I simply hope you get a chuckle out of the photos.
Thanks!
Signature: EB

Black and Yellow Mud Dauber preys on Orbweaver

Black and Yellow Mud Dauber preys on Orbweaver

Mud Dauber tried to stuff Orbweaver in hole.

Mud Dauber tried to stuff Orbweaver in hole.

Mud Dauber kicks it with Orbweaver

Mud Dauber kicks it with Orbweaver

Dear EB,
We absolutely love your images of a Black and Yellow Mud Dauber attempting to return to its nest with this substantial Orbweaver.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Kirksville, Missouri

2 Responses to Black and Yellow Mud Dauber with Orbweaver

  1. EmilyB says:

    Thank you! It was only after she flew away that I noticed a small streak of mud on the handle in front of the gap from where she had been bringing in nesting materials. Initially, some of my coworkers made mention of getting out the bug spray. I promptly told them that our mud daubers in this state do not ‘defend’ their nest, and only sting if roughly handled. While doing a bit of searching, I even found something new on the Missouri Department of Conservation website! Apparently Blue Mud Daubers will re-use the old nests of Organ Pipe and Black and Yellow Mud Daubers. They bring balls of water to the nest to soften the mud and re-shape it to their needs. Not only that, they are known to be the biggest predator of Black Widows, which we have here in abundance (I don’t really mind them, they keep quietly to themselves, but I can understand why a lot of people would be unsettled knowing they’re around). I think (I hope) I have convinced them not to instigate any Unnecessary Carnage.
    Here is a link to the MDC mud dauber page (they have a great online field guide):
    http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/mud-daubers

    Have a nice day, and keep fighting the good fight!
    EB

    • bugman says:

      That information about preying upon Black Widows should help control the amount of Mud Dauber carnage if we can manage to disseminate the information.

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