Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Mexican Honey Wasp & another swarm

Have you heard of these?  Is there a new pollinator coming?
Next stop California & Florida? 

Now the owner of an orchard on Farm-to-Market Road 1015, Garza sees nests from time to time on his own trees.He's got no problem with the wasps making a home on his property. He's so used to them, and he can put his hand next to a nest without fear — he's never been stung by one."Since honeybees are gone, and I don't want Africanized bees, this is my choice," he said of leaving them on his trees even though he can't use the fruit immediately surrounding the hive.Growing up, Garza saw them all the time in the orchards next to the Texsun facility where South Texas College now is in Weslaco.

 Brachygastra mellifica, commonly known as the Mexican Honey Wasp, is a small Neotropical paper wasp that is distributed from southern Texas and extreme southeastern Arizona in the United States south through Mexico and Central America. Wikipedia

Recently, a small team of researchers from London led by Dr. Ellouise Leadbeater, a research fellow from the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, came to the Lower Rio Grande Valley and South Central Texas to study honey wasps. Leadbeater and her team were headquartered  at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde.“We were interested in studying honey wasps as they are the only wasp to produce honey on a large scale and are a distant relative of the honey bee,” she said. “We had put out the word that we wanted to do this research, and got our best response from the Uvalde center.” “Mexican honey wasps are considered beneficial insects, much like honey bees,” she said. “They are nectar gatherers, pollinators, and have been known to predate on harmful insects such as the Asian citrus psyllid, which has been identified as a vector for citrus greening disease.”                               
We picked up another swarm Tuesday. I wish I had made all the wood ware last winter, but I had no idea we would grow from one to seven hives this spring.
they were football sized & kind of buried in the pine tree

I shook as many as I could in the box

The rest of them flew down from the tree & joined the queen in the box over the next 30  or so minutes.


  1. Still raining here today and I have swarms in traps I need to get out and put into boxes. I guess that ain't happening until it stops raining so I maybe rubber banding some comb into frames.

    Haven't checked my traps in two days now so no telling how many more I may have.

    Grats on the hive growth!!!

    1. Thanks! Next year I'll have some traps made up! & hopefully more supplies ready.