The arborists came out yesterday to remove our third sick sycamore. Whatever killed the tree compensated for its death by making its trunk a little more livable for some other creatures. It was hollowed out like a huge drinking straw, and the empty space was filled with dozens of honeycombs and squirrels’ nests made of twigs, cloth scraps and lint.
It was a big damn tree, wasn’t it? Based on the height of the arborist up in the tree, it looks like it must have been about 60-70 feet tall. Our house is 110 years old, and the arborists estimated that the sycamores were 80 to 100 years old. When the tree was felled, it made a hell of a divot in our front lawn.
We’re sad to lose the sycamore and sorry to see the squirrels’ homes destroyed, but we have no regrets about ridding the neighborhood of the flying insects that somehow end up inside all the homes on the street.
The insects inside our sycamore looked like wasps, not bees, and the arborist said they were wasps. But I didn’t know that wasps made honey, so I googled “Do wasps make honey?” Up came this short article:
Ask anyone the difference between bees and wasps and they’re likely to say something like this: bees make honey, wasps don’t.
… the assertion that wasps do not produce honey is incorrect. Most wasps, it is true, do not make honey … But over a dozen species of wasps in Central and South America are known to produce honey, and have long been exploited by humans for this ability. Most well-known among the honey-producing wasps is the Mexican Honey Wasp (Brachygastra mellifica). This species ranges from northern Panama to the southern counties of Texas and Arizona.
I’m not so sure about the “… southern counties of Texas and Arizona” part of that info. We’re in northern Texas, not far from the Oklahoma border, but I’d swear that Mexican Honey Wasps (shown on the right) are exactly what crawled out of our fallen tree trunk. Jamie and I are positive that we recognize the reddish wings and the black and yellow stripes. That being said, neither of us will ever be mistaken for an entomologist, so who knows.