Friday, January 12, 2007

Dirt Dauber Determination

To feed their families, the mud daubers (dirt daubers) pack their dinners on my back porch. Spiders seem especially tasty to them, so they paralyze the main course and stuff them into their custom designed storage units.

Mud daubers are members of the wasp family and are not hostile “stingers” as are some of their cousins. However, they are aggressive in another area: nursery construction.

In the summer, females can be spotted near the edge of mud puddles, where they roll wet dirt into tiny balls, about the size of a BB. One uniform ball at a time, held in the mandibles (jaws), is flown to a construction site. Pellet by pellet they construct tubes, shaped like organ pipes.

The females around here are partial to the mortar indentations on my bricked back porch. Bit by bit, BB by BB they carry out their mission to ensure the survival of their young.

Upon completion, each bin holds paralyzed spiders and grub-like larvae to feed upon them. Mud dauber moms put their babies in cylinders with spiders, but first, they made sure they could do no harm.

In the Old Testament story about Joseph, his brothers in a moment of very poor judgment sold him to Midianite merchants. Later, in an act of deception, they showed their father Joseph’s blood-soaked coat. Their dad reasoned that Joseph, mauled by a wild beast, was dead. The sons did nothing to correct his assumption.

Meanwhile in Egypt, Joseph grew to a position of power, eventually a tool in God’s plan to save Joseph’s family and thousands upon thousands during a seven year famine. Much later, his guilty brothers acknowledged Joseph in his powerful role and asked for protection.

Joseph recognized God’s providential touch saying, “Don’t be afraid.” What his brothers had intended for harm Joseph knew “God intended it for good.” Joseph “reassured them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:15-21).

To help protect the next generation, God told the Israelites to keep account of how he watched over them: Stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves. Don’t forget what you’ve seen. Don’t let your hearts wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Then God said, “Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children and grandchildren” (The Message, Deut. 4:9).

Throughout life, our little ones will come in contact with harm similar to live spiders, but God can paralyze evil and turn a bad situation into benefits for many.

When summer arrives watch for God’s mysterious teachers, the mud daubers.

Contact Cathy at

No comments:

Post a Comment