Entomology (Study of Bugs)/what kind of nest

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Question
Nest photo 1
Nest photo 1  

nest photo 2
nest photo 2  
I recently found a nest (maybe two - whatever is on the right in the photos is not clear) up inside the outside light housing near my screen door off my back patio in South Orange County, California. I'd cleaned webs out of the fixture within the past 6 months so it must have been built since then. It looks sort of like hardened mud, light tan in color and hard when I poke at it with a stick... only crumbly pieces fall out. (I poked at it 20 minutes after I sprayed HomeDefense, just in case something living in there would become irritated at me!). Any idea what this is and how I can make sure there are no eggs? I did google images of mosquito nests to no avail since they've been appearing on my patio lately even though there is no water source for them. I appreciate any insight you can offer.

Answer
Hello Jill,

There are a few types of insects that build mud dwellings like this one, but I think yours was probably made by mud daubers. These are wasps. I think I actually see the wing of one protruding out from under the light bulb in your photos. You mentioned that you cleaned out some spider webs from this light -- the mud daubers are probably eating the spiders. Mud daubers are not aggressive and don't usually sting, although I would still be cautious if you decide to remove the nest.

Thanks for the photo and detailed question. Good luck.

Best,
Jessica  

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jessica Mellinger

Expertise

I can answer questions about invertebrates native to California, including insects commonly found in homes. If you have an identification request, please attach a photo to your question.

Experience

I was involved in collection and identification of invertebrates for the United States Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division for six years. Also, I provided these same services intermittently for the UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment for many years. I have been a member of AllExperts.com since 2009.

Organizations
Department of the Interior: United States Geological Survey, Davis Field Station; University of California, Davis Aggie Alumni Association; UC Davis Center for Neuroscience; U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs

Education/Credentials
I have two B.A.'s from the University of California, Davis and two Associate's degrees from Sacramento City College.

Awards and Honors
Special Thanks for Achieving Results award from the Department of the Interior

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