Mud Daubers are wasps that are solitary, not social as are honey bees and yellowjackets. These solitary wasps capture prey such as spiders, bugs, other insects. During the summer months the Mud Dauber can be seen lighting on the ground at the edge of mud puddles the day after a summer rain. The liquid from the mud puddle is used to build the all too familiar mud cells. These cells (or dirt dauber nests, as some will call them) are built on the exterior of barns, sheds, homes or other structures.
The key to identifying paper wasps is the shape of the nest -- a round, upside-down paper comb that is attached by a single stalk to a horizontal surface in a protected location. This paper nest resembles an umbrella, lending to these wasps nickname, "umbrella wasps." Most paper wasp nests are located in exposed areas beneath soffits, in the corners of windows, under awnings, under porches, and beneath decks. These wasps, however, will also nest within voids and other protected sites, such as gas grills, electric outlet boxes, hose reels, attics, and crawl spaces. They often enter attics through holes in the soffits, attic vent screens, and underneath shingles.
Yellow jackets are social insects that live in colonies that can contain thousands of individuals. Colonies are usually started by a single queen in the early spring, and are very small for the first couple of months. By midsummer, a colony located on or near a house is usually large enough to become a nuisance. These wasps will aggressively attack when their nest is disturbed, and can inflict painful stings. Unlike the honeybee, which stings only one time and then dies, a single yellow jacket can sting many times. Yellow jackets are scavengers and can be beneficial when located in a wooded area or a field. Colonies located in or near a home, however, can pose a threat to the persons living in the house. When this situation is discovered, the colony or colonies should be eliminated.