If you aren’t a bug fan, you likely won’t enjoy the fascinating third season we have here, Bug Season.
With the first rains come an amazing array of all sorts of bugs. Right now it’s June Bug and Mud Wasps. Last week it was House Flies. Most of the June Bugs are still small but wait another few days, and they’ll be flying around like a student pilot trying to learn port from starboard and beaning everyone in the face as they fly about. The Mud Wasps, also called Mud Daubers, well, let’s say a prayer for them as they emerge to mate and many to go to the Great Beyond within hours.
Mud Daubers are found all over the world in North and Central America, the West Indies, and South Africa. There are three main species, the Blue Mud Dauber, the Black and Yellow Mud Dauber, and the Organ Pipe Mud Dauber. We have the Organ Pipe Mud Daubers here.
Mud Dauber wasps undergo complete transformation; they have four stages during their life cycle – egg, larvae (grub/worm-like), pupae (cocoon) and adult. The Organ Pipe makes a nest that looks like a series of tubes resembling the pipes on a pipe organ. Most Mud Daubers make new nests for each generation. We often find their nests outside on the wood beams or attached to some of the things SU keeps outside.
The females make the nests after mating, and they lay their eggs in their mud nests that look like a pipe and can hold 25 eggs. When the females complete the nest, they begin to capture insects or spiders that they place into each mud nest cell. The females deposit eggs on the prey within each cell, and the cell sealed with mud. The larvae that hatch from the eggs feed on the prey left by the adult wasp, and then change into the pupal stage (cocoon). The adult wasps sting and paralyze the prey before placing them in the mud cell. These keeps the ‘food’ fresh for the larvae.
Whatever Mud Daubers do in Panama this time of year, there’s carnage out there. There are dead wasps littered around the back yard, and I found two being feasted on by ants on the almond tree. Such is the cycle of life. As I’ve mentioned before one must see and not just look. There is a lot of things to see during Bug Season…in the campo.