Monday, January 28, 2008

Covered in bees!!!!

I've read an article today about a horrific insect: the Japanese Giant Hornet (vespa mandarinia japonica) who can spray flesh-melting acid that contains a pheromone cocktail that'll call every hornet in the hive to come over and help with the attack.

Japanese Giant Hornet

An adult hornet will fly miles to find foood for its young. Often times, food is found in a hive inhabited by thousands of bees. Vespa japonica sprays the nest with some of the acid/pheromone to mark its location for fellow hornets. Once the reinforcements arrive, they descend upon the beehive to destroy all the bees before taking the bee larvae home to feed their own young.

Sino-American Sidekick of a Hornet

The article I read ( describes a BBC2 documentary called ‘Buddha, Bees and the Giant Hornet Queen’. The programme followed the life of a Japanese Giant Hornet Queen as she established a hornet colony; the colony went on to launch a military style attack on a bee-hive kept by commercial bee keepers. Over the course of a few hours, around 30,000 honey-bees were massacred by a mere handful of hornet soldiers. It wasn’t a battle, but a killing field. And why was the carnage so one-sided? The bees in question were western honey-bees, introduced by the bee-keepers because they have much higher honey production than domestic honey bees. However, because these bees had never been exposed to such a predator before, they were totally defenceless when attacked.

In contrast, a local bee-keeping monk kept a hive of domestic honey bees, and when a soldier hornet came knocking on this hive, the bees knew the drill. They patiently waited for the hornet to enter the hive and then attacked, smothering the hornet in a bee ball, and literally cooking the hornet to death.

Here's a clip showing the Japanese bees' tactic:

1 comment:

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