Insect nest identification

Asked June 14, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

The accompanying photos show what may be a wasp nest attached to the brick wall of my home, and adjacent to flower gardens. In light of colony collapse disorder among honeybees, may one presume that wasps, among other Insecta, are deputizing as alternate pollinators? I also have Paper Wasp nests (Polistes exclamans) resident near the same flower gardens, and I maintain a prudent and cordial relationship with these insects, neither provoking nor intimidating them. The photos suggest that Mud Dauber wasps are building nests nearby. These latter wasps are said to be nonaggressive, but I treat them with the same circumspection as their Polistes cousins, who are said to be more aggressive. As I have never seen the purported wasps building these mud nests, I can't photograph them as a means of identity. Can you, using just the nest photos, suggest the insect's identity? Thanks for any information you can provide, and best wishes.

Montgomery County Maryland wasp nest mud dauber black and yellow mud dauber nest black and yellow mud dauber

1 Response

This looks like the nest of a mud dauber. There are many species, but this could be the black and yellow mud dauber. What you're seeing is one covered cell (where they lay an egg and provision it with a dead insect for the hatching wasp to eat) and one unfinished cell.

Yes, the native wasps are pollinators as well as predators of pest insects. There are many species. They are valuable additions to the ecosystem and if they can be tolerated, we encourage that.