En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - August 18, 2006

From: Seguin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Elimination of dirt dauber insects
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Hello - I live in the southeast part of Guadalupe Co. in the post oak savanna area. Do you have any suggestions on how to control dirt dauber dirt/mud nests. I know these critters are beneficial, but they build numerous nest under our front and back porch and adhere them to rock, wood, etc. Thanks!


Hmmm—our focus and expertise is in native plants, not insects; but, I'll give your question a stab. You are right that dirt/mud daubers/dobbers are beneficial and they aren't aggressive like the social wasps that build the "paper" nests; but their nests can be a problem, especially if they build them inside machinery. The Iowa State University Department of Entomology says: "There is no proven method that is effective in discouraging wasps from building nests in sheltered or protected areas." About the best you can do is to remove the nests before the larvae hatch into adults, clean the area, and keep on doing this as the new nests appear. At least you will be reducing the adult population that can build new mud nests.

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Pustules on geranium
March 28, 2005 - I have a geranium that has developed oblong red/brown pustules/raised bumps on the undersides of the lower leaves. The foliage around the bumps is stil green but everything else has yellowed
view the full question and answer

Redbud leaves turning yellow in mid-summer
July 13, 2012 - The leaves on our redbud trees are turning yellow. The yellow leaves are pale with no other spots and no dark veins. I don't know for sure which variety of redbud they are or how old they are (more t...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Japanese privet from Glendale AZ
December 26, 2012 - We have Japanese privet shrub and they seem to be suffering from a disease, need help.
view the full question and answer

Shasta Daisies without Petals
August 21, 2014 - My shasta daisies do not have the white petals, only the yellow center is in bloom. There are no visible signs of insects. They get a good amount of sun - about 5 hours per day. What could be the prob...
view the full question and answer

Dying foliage on non-native Otto Luyken Laurel from Georgetown KY
April 09, 2014 - I have 5 luken laurel scrubs planted around foundation. They have done very well until this last winter..the foilage is now brown and crispy. Will they come back? Do I need to prune back the damage...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center