Many people have the basic notion that the major difference of a bee from a wasp is that the bees make honey while wasps do not. However, this is not entirely correct.
What kind of wasps make honey?
While generally, most wasps do not produce honey, there is an exception to this. Take, for example, the Mexican Honey Wasps (Brachygastra Mellifica), which do make honey. These wasps are usually found in North and South America.
In the US alone, more than a dozen species of wasp can be found, which all produce honey. So no, not only bees produce honey!
This notion may have been brought about by the fact that some wasps species are predators to our beloved bees and other insects. There are wasp species too that steal honey from beehives. But, as the saying goes, there is always an exception.
Is honey produced by wasps safe to eat?
While it is known that the Mexican Honey Wasps make honey, however, they do so only for their own consumption. They do not make typical honey like bees do. In fact, wasps steal honey from bees as food.
However, the honey produced by these wasps is claimed to be very similar to what the bees produce. After all, they take the same nectars from the same flowers where bees gather them from.
Most likely, the honey produced by these flying stingers is safe to eat. Reports have it that wasp honey is often available and consumed in countries such as Brazil and Mexico.
We recommend you stick to eating honey from honey bees. Why not try a really good raw honey or Manuka honey then?
Do wasps do anything good?
Despite not producing enough honey for human consumption, these honey-producing wasps are still good for some things.
For one, these wasps are still useful in pollinations, although not as efficiently as bees. They are not as hairy as bees so that pollen does not stick to their bodies like what happens in the case of bees. When they need to transport pollen for their young, they use their legs, which carry lesser pollen.
Secondly, the Mexican wasps feed on insects and pests, which causes damage to our other crops and plants. They eat caterpillars, flies, beetles, spiders, and grasshoppers, commonly found on fields and plantations. Hence, they are also tagged as natural pest controllers.
And, for some local people in some parts of Mexico, wasps are eaten as a delicacy. Thus, these wasps are also a source of food for some people.
So all in all, we should not treat those lovely animals as enemies, but see them with all the value they bring to our nature.