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Organ pipe mud-dauber

Trypoxylon politum


Females build their pipe-shaped brood nests from mud. The color of these reflects the red clay content in local soil. Each pipe holds 3-4 cells, each with an egg and a paralyzed spider for the young to eat once it hatches. The pipe on the left has several cells already, you can see a sealed-up wall. The pipe on on the right looks completed, but so far empty. Very mild mannered wasp, doesn't sting unless you really mess with it.


High up on a wall, in a corner right by the door, of a building that gets a lot of human traffic.


From University of Arkansas Arthropod Museum:

Males remain in the nest during most of nest construction and throughout provisioning, guarding it from intruders, including other organ-pipe mud-daubers. When provisioning is complete, the male and female mate in the nest, and the female lays an egg and seals the cell with a mud partition. The female then provisions the next brood cell in the nest.

Eggs hatch in a couple of days and the larvae consume the provided food in about 5 days. Organ-pipe mud-daubers are partially bivoltine; some wasps produce offspring that emerge in late spring or early summer and others produce overwintering offspring. A 4-6 inch nest can be built within 24 hours. A typical pipe contains 3-4 cells, and a typical nest includes a cluster of 5-7 pipes.

Male-female bonds usually persist only through the completion of a single tube. Males remain in the nest both day and night, leave from time to time for only brief periods. Females visit the nest only to build and provision. They are not found in nests at night or during the daytime in stormy weather.

Organ-pipe mud-daubers rarely sting unless seriously molested.

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Spotted by

Scooba, Mississippi, USA

Spotted on Oct 2, 2013
Submitted on Oct 5, 2013

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