Return to Texas Entomology - Compiled by Mike Quinn

Mexican Honey Wasp

Brachygastra mellifica (Say, 1837)

Family Vespidae, Subfamily Polistinae, Tribe Epiponini


Mexican Honey Wasp - Brachygastra mellifica (Say, 1837)

(nest rests on a 55 gallon drum for scale)

This nest was in a high traffic area and out of an abundance of caution,
pest control operators were contracted on July 10, 2007 to take it down.

Originally at Brooks City-Base, se San Antonio, Bexar Co., Texas

The same pest control operators reportedly recently removed another similar nest on the southwest side of San Antonio, TX.

Texas Brachygastra mellifica Records


Range: Brachygastra is a Neotropical genus ranging from South Texas to Northern Argentina (Hogue, 1993) 

Brachygastra mellifica is found throughout Mexico and Central America (Richards, 1978).
Historical range in Texas south of Zapata and Kleberg Counties (Sugden & McAllen, 1994)
Recently sighted as far north as Austin, Travis County, Texas. (C. Durden, pers. comm., 2007)
There's also a 100 year old record from Nogales, Santa Cruz County, Arizona (Cameron, 1907).

Length: 7-9 mm (Hogue, 1993)

Habitat: Occurs in all but the driest habitats (Hogue, 1993)

Life History: See extensive life history discussion here.

Workers are mild mannered by vespid wasp standards but sting hard when sufficiently provoked. The sting is barbed and stays in the wound if the victim is a human or other large animal. (Hogue, 1993)


Cameron. 1907. Invertebrata Pacifica 1:181.

Hogue, C. 1993. Latin American Insects and Entomology. University of California Press, Berkeley. xiv + 594 pp.

Richards, O.W. 1978. The social wasps of the Americas, excluding. the Vespinae. British Museum (Natural History), London. 580 pp.

Sugden, E.A. & R.L. McAllen. 1994. Observations on foraging, population and nest biology of the Mexican honey wasp, Brachygastra mellifica (Say) in Texas (Vespidae: Polybiinae). Journal of Kansas Entomological Society, 67(2): 141-155.

22 Nov 2008   Mike Quinn / / Texas Entomology