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Mexican Honey Wasp: Good or Bad?

Mexican Honey Wasp: Small Honey Makers that are not Bees

Much like a honey bee the Mexican Honey Wasp does make their own version of the golden sweet nectar filled deliciousness called HONEY.

Recently I posted this image on my Instagram Feed.

Mexican Honey Wasps
On a call to collect a swarm of honey bees we discovered that they weren’t bees at all. They were Mexican Honey Wasps.

Caption from Instagram Photo:

“Today we had an exciting call. A fellow beekeeping friend said that he got a call that there was a swarm in a neighborhood tree. We got all ready to go capture it. When we got there we found right away that it was not a swarm of honey bees but a colony of Mexican Honey Wasps making their nest. They are one of the few paper wasps that produce honey. It was cool seeing these little guys in action even if we couldn’t capture a swarm of honey bees.”

Mexican Honey Wasp in Texas

Typically these wasps are found in Central and South America, but they are becoming more common in South Texas. I am personally aware now of two nests in the San Antonio, Texas area.

This was also shared in my Google Plus community. One member asked the following question:

Cool but… are they nasty like wasps or nice like bees? If they’re docile, you could still house them no?

I love active conversations about all subjects related to nature. Here is my reply:

They are not nasty but they will sting. Their paper nest isn’t conducive to harvesting the honey so if one were to house them it would only be for local pollination. The paper nests too are often built around branches so removing them in a way to keep the nest intact would involve cutting the tree. I’m sure this is possible, but in a lot of cases (like this particular case) the nest is built in trees where homeowners do not want the tree hacked up. If anyone knows a good way to encourage these little guys to move on without destroying them… please post up. I wondered if they would be discouraged to build their nest if a cloth soaked with almond oil (or some other herb oil) was placed nearby.

Mexican Honey Wasp as Pollinators

According to my reading about this wonderful little critter they are excellent at pollinating Citrus and Avocado trees. They carry the pollen that is collected on their heads, legs and abdomen. Any insect that can assist in the pollination of our food sources is a winner in my book. Their nests may look intimidating but they are, in fact, helping out.

Mexican Honey Wasp Experts?

Do you know about these wonderful insects? I would love to have you join the conversation in the comments below.

Find out more about the insects using these links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brachygastra_mellifica

http://today.agrilife.org/2013/04/25/not-bees-honey-wasps/

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Mexican Honey Wasp: Good or Bad?”

  1. I have one of these nests in my tree at home and there is one at my work as well. So that is two more for San Antonio, TX.

  2. I’m in north central SA. There is a Medican Honey Bee nest about the size of two basketballs between me and my neighbors house. Do you know anyone who will remove it? It is in the tree about 30′ up in the air.

  3. There is a nest by the helipad at Stone Oak Methodist in San Antonio! and late to the game but you can check out beeremovalsource.com for a list of local bee removal services.

  4. I collect intact abandoned nests of wasps of various species. I am always looking to add more types of nests to my collection and I have yet to get any from the Mexican Honey Wasp. If anyone down in south Texas knows of one or has one that’s abandoned or might be in the near future I would really like to talk about it if you are willing to do me the best favor and cut the branch its attached to off and stick it in a box and ship it to me then I would really appreciate it and be eternally grateful. Thank you.

  5. Found one just yesterday in a cedar bush (juniper) in my front yard. It’s almost perfectly round and a least as large as a beach ball. I now wish I had some citrus trees for them to pollinate and to predate larvae.

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