Before I go any further, I must say it’s raining! When it rains to any significant extent once the hot weather starts, it’s worth mentioning. We will have some happy plants, and I set some seat cushions out to get cleaned, too (it’s free!).
One thing the rain is washing away from those cushions will be mud dauber nests. We always have some here (ours are black-and-yellow mud daubers, Sceliphron caementarium), but this year they are especially abundant. I have always enjoyed watching these guys and find the places they make nests pretty funny sometimes. You never know where one will show up, like on a shovel, in the lawn mower, etc. They were all over those seat cushions, too. They use such nice, brown mud. Quite the construction workers!
As the photo below shows, it’s pretty easy to tell the difference between a mud dauber nest and a regular paper wasp nest. It’s good to know the difference between the wasps themselves, too, since the mud daubers are way less likely to sting.
We’re glad they aren’t likely to sting, because for the past week or so, there have been hundreds of them flying around the house. They are just floating around in circles, doing who knows what (maybe eating? mating?). Oddly enough, there aren’t any more nests than usual, so something must be going on. I predict the birds are enjoying all the wasps, though, because lots of swallows and mockingbirds are also flying around!
My guess is that at least some wasp fun is happening. I saw this happening, and hoped it was two wasps making more wasps, and not one wasp getting ready to snack on another. This is where I wish I had a wasp expert to consult. I did upload the photo to iNaturalist, though!
I focused on mud daubers today, because I think it’s important to talk about the smaller and less exotic residents at the Hermits’ Rest, too. We’ve coexisted here for the six years we’ve owned the place (and eight years, if you could when we were just camping out before we bought it). While I do remove nests from the sides of the house, I leave them alone elsewhere, because they aren’t hurting anything and were here before us!
Thanks for being here, mud daubers!