You are here:

Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Mystery bug that makes hive & honey


Mystery bug hive
Mystery bug hive  

Mystery bug?
Mystery bug?  
Dear Ed,

Thank you for making yourself available to answer questions about entomology, including trying to identify 'mystery bugs'.  I have one for you.

After seeing a small swarm of gnat-like bugs hovering around an electrical switch box at my house, I discovered that there was a hive of sorts inside, including some honey. I've never seen anything like this.  Then again, I do live in Benin, West Africa and see many things that are new and strange!

Can you help in identifying what insect has done this?  Image attached.

Thank you very much for your help!  I was glad to find this site.

Sincere regards,

Dear Marianne - I believe that these are stingless bees - see for an image and some more information. Bees of this nature appear to occur throughout the tropics/subtropics.

Hope this helps,

p.s. - My wife's name is Marianne!

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

©2017 All rights reserved.