Wasp, Dirt Dobbers? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 20 Old 03-07-2013 Thread Starter
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Unhappy Wasp, Dirt Dobbers?

Hope this is the right place for this, if not please move. What is the best way to keep wasp/dirt dobbers OFF my boat? In a weeks time I will find a wasp nest in my sail cover, along with the owners, makes sail raising alot of fun. And the dirt dobbers,(I guess that's how it's spelled), out of the inside? They get into my foul weather gear, stove, eng room, along with the wasp, I find the dirt nest on my inside hand rails, almost everywhere, HELP! Thanks.
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post #2 of 20 Old 03-07-2013
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Re: Wasp, Dirt Dobbers?

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Hope this is the right place for this, if not please move. What is the best way to keep wasp/dirt dobbers OFF my boat? In a weeks time I will find a wasp nest in my sail cover, along with the owners, makes sail raising alot of fun. And the dirt dobbers,(I guess that's how it's spelled), out of the inside? They get into my foul weather gear, stove, eng room, along with the wasp, I find the dirt nest on my inside hand rails, almost everywhere, HELP! Thanks.
I went through the same baloney with paper wasps and mud-dobbers for awhile as well. After trying many supposed remedies, the thing I found that worked--suggested on another site--was a mixture of 2 Oz of Oil of Mint, and a cap full of liquid dish soap mixed with a cup of water in a spray bottle. Apply liberally to anywhere that you find the wasps tending congregate. If they are getting into sails, apply the mix to a "swiffer" sheet and slip a part of it into a fold of your sails, leaving the majority exposed even if under your sail cover. This seemed to work for us and I keep a spray bottle of the mix under the galley sink to employ if we even see a wasp. A mud-dobber that builds his house in a vent line, particularly a fuel vent or holding tank vent, can cause serious problems (BTDT).

Good luck!

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post #3 of 20 Old 03-07-2013
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Re: Wasp, Dirt Dobbers?

not sure how to do it on sailboats, but on my camper I purchased fine mesh screens to cover openings that they like to congregate in.
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post #4 of 20 Old 03-07-2013
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Re: Wasp, Dirt Dobbers?

Some claim that an inflated brown paper bag hung in the area makes 'other' wasps believe the territory is already taken and will go elsewhere...

Won't cost much to try!!

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Re: Wasp, Dirt Dobbers?

Dirt dobbers, or mud wasps as we call them, love your boat because it has spiders. They kill spiders and pack the dead spiders into the mud huts with their eggs/larvae. The eggs hatch, the larvae eat the dead spiders and grow, then they chew their way out of the mud hut as a full-fledged wasp.

In short, get rid of your spiders and you will get rid of the mud wasps. I've had short-term luck wiping the surfaces of my boat down with dryer sheets - for some reason it keeps the spiders away, but not for long.
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Re: Wasp, Dirt Dobbers?

OK, I'll try the mix, and the 'brown bag' trick, I hope something works. I just love putting on foul weather gear and knocking a nest out with my arm. Why do they love MY boat so much, the other boats are nicer! (Come to think of it I never see any spiders on my boat, so why don't they go get a free meal on the other boats)?
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Re: Wasp, Dirt Dobbers?

Oh we all get the spiders...I dont know mamny boats who dont have a hitch hiker or two.
We also put a the bailing sponge for our dinghy in the end of our boom. Seems to be a favorite place for the wasps or birds to find shelter from the rain and wind and nest

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Re: Wasp, Dirt Dobbers?

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Dirt dobbers, or mud wasps as we call them, love your boat because it has spiders. They kill spiders and pack the dead spiders into the mud huts with their eggs/larvae. The eggs hatch, the larvae eat the dead spiders and grow, then they chew their way out of the mud hut as a full-fledged wasp.
All true, except the wasps do not kill the spiders. They paralyze the spiders and stuff the paralyzed, but alive, spiders into the mud tombs along with an egg. By keeping the spiders alive, the wasps preserve the spiders as a food source for the little wasp larvae. The larvae then munch on the living spiders.

I really. REALLY dislike spiders, but this fate almost makes me feel sorry for them.


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post #9 of 20 Old 03-08-2013
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Re: Wasp, Dirt Dobbers?

Critters of all types just seem to like sailing. I've found the only way to keep 'em out is closing/screening even the smallest places they get in: limber holes, vents, holes in masts/booms, exhaust pipes, etc. Around here, people who don't plug the ends of masts in the spring invariably wind up with bird's nests inside, a "moral dilemma." It seemed to be the "Year of the Yellow Jacket" last summer around Champlain. They were in every imaginable unfilled opening.

Unless Aragog size, I don't mind the spiders that spin bug-catching webs. It's amazing how many gnats and other small biting critters are caught in those webs.

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post #10 of 20 Old 03-08-2013 Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Re: Wasp, Dirt Dobbers?

Thanks All! I'm going to put 'stockings' over the hull vents, that may help. Wonder if you could 'fog' it? I was told to wipe everything down with 'pine sol', think that'll work?
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