Intimidating Mexican Honey Wasps Frequently Establish Enormous Nests Around Homes Where They Must Be Removed By A Pest Control Professional
Mexican honey wasps are social insects that are common in Central America and Mexico, but one species, Brachygastra mellifica, can be found in the southern US. This species is well distributed in southern Texas, but their US distribution range extends into southern Arizona as well. These fierce-looking wasps frequently establish nests within shrubs, trees, and brush located within close proximity to homes and buildings. During the spring, summer and early fall months, Mexican honey wasp nests are difficult to find, as they are generally located within thick vegetation where they are obscured by prominent foliage. However, once leaves fall during the late fall and winter seasons, these massive basketball-sized nests are frequently found near southern Arizona homes.
While Mexican honey wasps are not as aggressive toward humans as some types of wasps, such as yellow jackets, they will not hesitate to aggressively swarm and inflict numerous stings to humans when their nests become disturbed. Since nests are common in residential shrubbery and trees, it is not hard for humans to inadvertently disturb nests. Because of the threat Mexican honey wasps pose to humans in urban and suburban areas, a pest control professional should be contacted for the removal of nests when they are found.
Mexican honey wasp colonies are quite large, as they generally contain around 18,000 individuals, but colonies containing more than 20,000 individuals have been documented. Naturally, their nests are quite large as well, and a mere hundred individual wasps are capable of building a nest as large as 15 cm in diameter within a few days. Nests are built anywhere between 1 and 9 meters above the ground, and foragers consistently stand guard on the surface of nests while delivering food to their nestmates. Foraging wasps of this species are known to travel long distances for food, and they are around ¼ of an inch in length. Unlicensed homeowners should never attempt to remove Mexican honey wasp nests, as they are capable of tearing through protective clothing in order to inflict stings. It is important to have nests removed when they are found close to the ground near homes, schools, daycare centers and other high-traffic areas.
Have you ever found a wasp nest as large as a basketball?