Friday, March 26, 2010
The Mud Dauber
When in the laundry the other day I saw that my yellow and black friend was back again, building a nest. I stood and watched it for a while, wondering how it was done. It flew off for a few minutes, then came back. All I could see it doing was rub its head with its two front legs and walk all over the dome.
I googled 'Australian wasps' and found out that it is the 'Black and Yellow Mud Dauber', Sceliphron caementarium. The female builds the nest and daubs with the lower mandible (jaw). Each nest contains only one egg. The nest will last for years and is quite often used by other types of wasps and bees.
Apparently they're non-aggressive but will sting, if handled; who'd want to pick one up?! They do pose a threat to aeroplanes, as they build their nests in small openings and tubes, which can impair the function of the craft. In fact, they're held responsible for the crash of Birgenair Flight 301, killing 189 passengers and crew.
I had a look yesterday and found that the construction had been completed. Unfortunately, I'll have to destroy it in a couple of months' time; it's just a job that has to be done, otherwise the house would be covered in them.