Help us identify wasp(?)

Asked December 30, 2013, 6:59 PM EST

We found 3 huge nests on our property - all less than 300 meters of each other. We think they are wasps' nests, but have never seen them that large. AND the wasp(?) itself is so small [picture included]. Since it has been under 40 degrees, there is little movement, hence why my Husband was able to hold one. His hand is large, but the wasp(?) is about a 1/2 inch long. Can you help identify and how to exterminate them? Would like to know while the temperature is still cold for them. Thank-you, Sandra Shodeen [outside Lytle, Texas]

Atascosa County Texas

3 Responses

Hello Sandra,

Those wasps are called Mexican Honey Wasps. They are very interesting wasps - one of the few insects other than honey bees that produce honey.
Usually, I recommend to just leave them alone. They are very docile wasps and unless provoked they will not sting. When it is cold like this they aren't very active, as you've noticed. When they are found on a school yard, less than 7 feet from the ground or around children is when we usually recommend removal.

Likely, they will remain in the trees and continue to go unnoticed by you on the ground as they probably have for many months before the trees lost the leaves.

If you decide removal is best, contact a pest control company who either has experience with Mexican Honey Wasps (and there should be several in your area as they are more and more common) or at least honey bee removal.

Thank-you so much! And yes, we will leave the ones alone that are farther away from the house. We found another close to our barn (no sure if we'll keep it). You are right, didn't notice till the leaves dropped. We'll keep and watch them now. Thank-you again!

-Molly Keck
Integrated Pest Management Program Specialist
Board Certified Entomologist
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service