What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what is going on with these wasps
Location: near houston
April 28, 2017 9:56 am
very odd. 4 wasps on top of each other. At first ii thought it was a multiple mating, but It appears that the bugs on top are dead. What is going here? what sort of wasp is this? is this normal? i’ve never seen this before.
Signature: jay in texas

Mud Dauber Mystery

Dear Jay,
We wish you had been able to provide better quality images.  While there is enough detail to determine that these are Black and Yellow Mud Daubers,
Sceliphron caementarium, and it appears they are “attached” to one another at the head like each was biting another at the “neck”, we cannot fathom what is going on or what happened.  It is interesting that you observed the the ones on top are dead.  Does that mean the ones on the bottom were alive?  It also appears that they are on a collapsible hose, which makes sense since Mud Daubers are often found near puddles that occur when watering or near swimming pools.  You may verify our identification by comparing your individuals to this BugGuide image.  Mud Daubers are solitary Wasps, and each female makes and provisions her own nest, so this “group activity” is quite puzzling.  We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he can provide a hypothesis on what is happening.

Update:  Supposed Mating Behavior
Thanks to Cesar Crash who provided comments with links to Shutterstock and BugGuide.

Eric Eaton Confirms
Daniel:
….Three males competing for a female (bottom-most individual).  The neck-grabbing is typical male mate-guarding behavior, or attempt to mate.
Eric
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
http://bugeric.blogspot.com/

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Houston, Texas

6 Responses to Mud Dauber Mystery related to mating.

  1. Rick Trapp says:

    I took pictures of something just like this, shortly after I took the pic they all were dead.

  2. Matt S says:

    Witnessed this a few weeks ago in tx. Today, Approached 4 stacked that fell from sky (almost as soon as they hit the ground). All four scattered and flew off, alive. Mating was my first guess, but I didn’t understand exactly what was going on until I found you guys.

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