With more than 30 thousand registered species, wasps make up a huge portion of flying insects. Though mud daubers are a type of wasp, many characteristics separate them from the “ordinary” wasp. People are the most familiar with types that sting though many kinds are completely harmless to people. One big difference is that Mud daubers fall into the solitary hunting category while insects like hornets and yellow jackets are social species.

Of the two primary subgroups, social wasps are the minority. Only about 1,000 types of social wasps exist, though their numbers can reach up to 5,000 members forming massive colonies. Social stinging wasps are the ones people come into contact with most often. Mud daubers fall into the solitary wasp category, meaning that they prefer to avoid human contact. Daubers prefer not to sting and will not protect their nests the same ways that social wasps do.

Another distinguishing characteristic of mud daubers is their thin waists. Although most are dark and consistent in color, some have variations of bright yellow markings. They only reach about an inch in length — so they’re smaller than other types of wasp. Social wasps have variations of colors; although they’re not elongated like mud daubers’. Their abdomens are pointed at the back end and angle downward. Brighter colors usually imply more aggressive species like hornets and yellow jackets.

Though Mud daubers are not naturally aggressive, it is never smart to approach a nest without being cautious. If mud daubers become a nuisance, be sure to contact an ACE Professional for their recommendations and assistance.