Do Dirt Dobbers Sting or Bite Humans? FIND OUT!

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Dirt dobbers (or dirt daubers) can sting humans multiple times in quick succession but they’re not aggressive like some of their winged counterparts. However, they’re unable to bite you.

Unlike yellowjackets, dirt daubers are not known to be super territorial or aggressive around their nests and rarely even attack when their nest is disturbed.

There are some symptoms you might exhibit if a dirt dobber sting you and they include:

  • Swelling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea or
  • Skin reactions

If you show any of these allergic reactions, it is crucial to seek medical attention with no delay!

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Do Dirt Dobbers Sting or Bite?

Mud dobbers possess stingers but rarely use it even when disturbed. Mud daubers venom is mainly used to paralyze, capture and preserve prey. They’re also quite docile towards humans and do not defend their nests in the same manner social wasps do.

However, they may sting if they feel threatened or mishandled. Like any wasp, the dirt dauber can and will deliver many stings if they’re mishandled or threatened. The pain caused by soil daubers are not considered painful.

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However, people suffering from wasp allergies might experience something different such as:

  • Skin reactions, including hives, itching and flushed or pale skin
  • A weak, rapid pulse
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the tongue and throat

What are Mud Daubers?

Mud daubers, also knows as dirt dobbers, or dirt daubers are common wasp that build their nest of mud. There are lots of wasp species out there commonly referred to as mud daubers, such as blue mud daubers, black-and-yellow mud daubers and organipipe mud daubers.

Mud daubers are typically found all through the United States.

How to Identify Mud Daubers

  • Color

They are typically black in color and, may have pale markings or a metallic luster

  • Legs

They have 6 legs

  • Shape

They feature a long and slender body with a thread-like waist

  • Size

Their size is around 1/2 – 1+” (12-25+ mm)

  • Antennae


  • Region

Found throughout U.S.


Mud daubers often experience a complete metamorphosis, which means they pass through 4 stages during their lifecycle:

  • Egg
  • Larvae
  • Cocoon (pupae), and
  • Adult

They complete 1 or 2 generations within 365 days. During spring, overwintering pupae develop into the adult. The new adult females will then proceed to construct nests made up of mud tubes of different sizes.

Each mud is then provisioned with different spiders that the female mud dauber hunts and paralyzes with her venom.

The female dirt dobber deposits an egg on the first spider within each mud tube and then seals them with mud. The dirt dobber larvae will then hatch from the eggs and feed on the spider (prey) left behind by their mom.

After that, the larvae develop into pupae, a process that generally takes around 3 weeks. The pupae will spin a silk cocoon to overwinter until the following spring when they become adults.

Adult mud daubers feed on plant nectar, captured spider body fluids, and honeydrew. Some species of dirt daubers even feed on dangerous black widow spiders.

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They are solitary wasps who do not enjoy living in colonies. However, you may find more than one mud dauber’s nest in an area if it is suitable.

Typical mud dauber nest locations include sheltered sites under eaves, porch ceilings, open garages or sheds, barns, protected building walls and attics.

Lastly, the shape of a nest you find will determine the wasp gender. For instance, female black-and-yellow mud daubers will build their nests of many short mud tubes measuring around 1” (25 mm) long that are built side-by-side. On the other hand, the organ pipe mud dauber constructs a nest comprised of many long mud tubes (20+ cm) that resemble pipes on a pipe organ. In general, most mud daubers will select a new site to build a nest for each generation.

do dirt dobbers sting or bite

What Do Mud Daubers Look Like?

Mud daubers are typically black, but may feature pale markings or a blue metallic luster and adults are usually between ½ to 1 inch long (12-25 mm).

The mud dauber body is “threaded”, meaning there is a long, slender segment between the thorax and abdomen.

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Signs of an Infestation

A common infestation sign is finding a nest. If the nest has holes, it may mean that the nest is old/inactive, as dauber wasps will create holes when they leave the nest.

How to Get Rid of Mud Dauber Wasps?

Call in a licensed experienced pest control professional. Personally, it has been the most effective means to getting rid of an infestation.

Another method would be to eliminate harborage sites by sealing holes and cracks in buildings. This will, in turn, reduce the prey population.

How Painful Is A Mud Dauber Sting?

Mud daubers are lone rangers whose sting are not considered especially painful. It feels like a small broom entering your skin.

Can Dirt Dobbers Hurt You?

Yes, they can. However, that only occurs when you mishandle, or roll on their stingers. They are known to be docile and non-threatening.

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What’s the Difference Between A Wasp and A Dirt Dauber?

Wasps have yellow stripes along their body, while mud daubers generally feature some yellow stripes, if any. Plus, they’re typically brown or solid black color, and the biggest difference between the two is that dirt dobbers have a super slender torso – it’s as barrow as a string.

What are Mud Daubers Good For?

Mud daubers are good at preying spiders, including the dangerous black widow. They typically pack each cell with up to 24-30 spiders for their young. With around 14-20 cells per nest, that’s more than 500 spiders eaten each breeding season.

Should You Remove Mud Dauber Nests?

Personally, I recommend leaving the nest of mud daubers alone. These creatures are nature’s way of doing pest control.

Do Mud Daubers Eat Mosquitoes?

No, they do not eat mosquitoes. However, bats do feed on mosquitoes so you may consider having some around.

What is inside a Mud Dobber’s Nest?

You will find a single egg and up to 25 live, paralyzed spiders per nest.

What keeps Mud Daubers Away?

Citronella oil, menthol, water, teak oil, and eucalyptus oil mixtures that keep these critters away. Additionally, preventing access to sheds, attics, and the underside of porches too helps.

How do You Dissolve A Dirt Dauber Nest?

  • Use a paint scraper to scrape it off. You can then use soap and water to get rid of the residue.
  • Or you can spray it with a garden hose and clean it up using a sponger after it falls off.

How Long Does A Mud Dauber Live?

They live for 1 year.

Where do Mud Daubers Sleep?

Mud daubers fly to nearby structures or bushes to sleep, and leave their nests for the babies.

Do Mud Daubers Cause Damage?

No, they do not. However, they may be bothersome to some peple.

How Long Does It Take for A Mud Dauber To Build A Nest?

It takes a mud dauber 3 hours to 2-3 days to complete a nest.

Author: Howard S. Baldwin

My name is Howard S. Baldwin. I am a work-at-home dad to three lovely girls, Jane + Hannah + Beauty. I have been blogging for the last 3 years. I worked for other Home and Lifetsyle blogs, did hundreds of product reviews and buyers’ guides. Prior to that, I was a staff accountant at a big accounting firm. Needless to say, researching and numbers are my passion. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to DIY life and homemaking.

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