Once Honey is slathered on a Honey tree and at least 6 real-time hours have passed, a Pokémon may appear on the tree. If a tree is left unchecked for 24 hours, both the Honey and any Pokémon will be gone. Changing the Nintendo DS's clock will have no impact on the Honey tree's timer.
There are 21 Honey trees spread throughout Sinnoh. Four of them have a chance to attract Munchlax; these trees are selected when the game begins, based on the player's Trainer ID and Secret ID. The special Munchlax trees are visually indistinguishable from normal trees and cannot be changed short of starting a new game. In general, Munchlax trees are more likely to contain rarer wild Pokémon species, most notably Munchlax itself.
The species of Pokémon (or whether one will appear at all) is determined at the time a tree is slathered. Therefore, once a tree is slathered, saving the game and resetting will not change the Pokémon that will appear on it. However, its level, gender, Nature, IVs, and other random values may change.
Which four Honey trees can contain Munchlax depends on the player's Trainer ID and secret ID (referred to herein as tid and sid). These numbers are 2-byte values, and the game splits each into single bytes. tid1 and sid1 will refer to the lower byte of each ID number (calculable by id % 256), while tid2 and sid2 will refer to the higher byte (calculable by id / 256).
The location of the four Munchlax trees is then determined as follows:
The game checks if any of these are equal. If A is equal to B, B is increased by 1. The game then checks A against C, followed by B against C, adding 1 to C if it is equal after either check. Then the game checks A against D, followed by B against D, and then C against D, and adds 1 to D if it is equal after any of the checks. If at any point any of B, C, or D would equal 21, they are set to 0 instead.
The final values of A, B, C, and D represent the locations of the Munchlax trees. The number can be treated as a 0-based index into the list of Honey tree locations above. That is, if A = 10, that means the Honey tree on Route 212 south can contain Munchlax.
When the game generates a species of wild Pokémon to appear on a Honey tree, it first chooses from one of three possible "groups" of Pokémon before choosing a Pokémon from within that group. These groups are shown in the table below. The 17 non-Munchlax trees have a 70% chance of choosing from Group A, a 20% chance of choosing from Group B, a 0% chance of choosing from Group C, and a 10% chance of choosing no encounter. The four Munchlax trees have a 20% chance of choosing from Group A, a 70% chance of choosing from Group B, a 1% chance of choosing from Group C, and a 9% chance of choosing no encounter.
When Honey is slathered on a tree, if that tree is also the last tree that was slathered, there is a 90% chance that the game will pick the same group as it did the last time. If the tree's last slathering did not produce any Pokémon, it will be treated as if the tree had selected Group A.
Very roughly speaking, the more a tree shakes, the more likely it is a rare Pokémon will appear. The number of times a tree shakes is randomly decided depending on the group that was selected for the tree.
So, based on the number of times a tree shakes, a Pokémon from the different groups will have the following chance to appear.
For normal trees:
For Munchlax trees:
If the tree being slathered was also the last tree slathered (and the tree is empty), there is a 90% chance that the tree will attract a Pokémon from the same group that was used before. This will render the rates below inaccurate. See above for an explanation of the sets and the exact rarities of Pokémon.
A colored background means that the Pokémon can be found in this location in the specified game. A white background with a colored letter means that the Pokémon cannot be found here.
Using Honey (or Sweet Scent) inside a shop or Poké Mart will cause the descriptive text of purchasable items to vanish until the player leaves the shop. This is known as the Honey shop glitch and only occurs in Diamond and Pearl.
Though unavailable as an item in Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, Honey is mentioned as being a food produced by the Beedrill and Combee of Nectar Meadow, overseen by their queen and manager Vespiquen. Due to its nutritious properties, Budew heads to Nectar Meadow to obtain some Honey for her ailing mother, despite being warned that the Pokémon are usually on edge during their Honey-making season. Misunderstood as a Honey thief, Budew is rescued in time by the player and partner from the angry Beedrill and Combee. After they are defeated, Vespiquen intervenes and resolves the misunderstanding, and gifts Budew with some Honey.
In Some Enchanted Sweetening!, Honey was slathered on a tree, attracting several wild Bug-type and Grass-type Pokémon as well Ash's Aipom and a wild Burmy. The Honey appeared to have been slathered by Cheryl, who wanted to catch a male Burmy to help her find the Enchanted Honey. Cheryl later explained to the group that Enchanted Honey was Honey gathered by Combee in the Amber Castle, located deep in Eterna Forest, which is said to be hundreds of times sweeter than normal Honey. With the help of Ash and his friends, and with her Mothim leading the way, she located the hive of a Vespiquen and its many worker Combee. After helping defend the hive from Team Rocket, the Vespiquen shared some of its Enchanted Honey with Cheryl, Ash, his friends, and some of their Pokémon. All of them loved the Enchanted Honey, except for Brock's Croagunk, who looked disgusted by the sweet flavor.
In Honey for Combee, as Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum ventured into Floaroma Meadow, Diamond and his Pokémon smelled Honey and ran off to lick it off a tree, only to be attacked by a swarm of angry Combee, whom the Honey had been meant for. Later, the trio ventured into the Valley Windworks, where they met Mars, who filled the Windworks control room with sand in order to do away with them. Pearl and Platinum ended up outside the building and were able to uncover Diamond's location inside the building and save him thanks to a group of Combee being attracted by the scent of Honey on Diamond and his Pokémon.
The Honey is present in the game data of Pokémon GO, but is unused.
Honey may originally have been planned for Generation II, where unused text refers to an item called Sweet Honey (Japanese: あまいミツSweet Honey), which could be used to attract Pokémon by slathering it on a tree and waiting about a day, nearly identical to its behavior in Generation IV.
Regular honey has been seen in various Pokémon canons, even before its official debut in Generation IV:
In A Sappy Ending, certain trees that produce honey-like sap were featured. Like the Honey in the games, this sap was also shown being capable of attracting wild Bug Pokémon, like Heracross, Butterfree, and Pinsir.