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Master Nest Builders

Master Nest Builders

By Lee S. Yudin, Ph.D.
Pacific Daily News
May 1998

For thousands of years man has constructed some of his best dwellings out of the mixture of mud, grass, and water. And perhaps some of the first humans who were perceptive enough to build their homes out of these basic materials mastered their construction skills by observing certain insect builders. For millions of years insects have used both mud and grass to build their nests for protection or to house their developing offspring.

            On Guam, there are two notorious mud and grass nest builders – the mud wasps and grass bagworm insects. Both types of insect nests are more of a nuisance than a serious threat to our homes. However these nests can be quite unsightly if they are not kept under control.

            The mud wasp, or more technically known as the mud dauber, is a relatively large wasp, about 1 1/3 inches long, black-and-yellow, with a long thin waist. It is a solitary wasp (meaning that it lives alone without the help of others) that constructs its nest out of mud in or around our homes. Mud daubers do not defend their nests the same way social wasps such as yellow jackets do, therefore, mud daubers are very unlikely to sting even when they are distributed.

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