elaborate honeybee hive defense

Although a handful of Asian giant hornets can easily defeat the defenses of honey bees, whose correspondingly small sting cannot inflict much damage against such a large predator as the giant hornet, the Japanese honey bee (Apis cerana japonica) has evolved a method of defending against the much larger predator. When a hornet scout locates a Japanese honey bee hive and approaches the nest, the scout will emit specific pheromonal hunting signals. When the honey bees detect these pheromones, a hundred or so will gather near the entrance of the nest and keep it open, apparently to draw the hornet further into the hive or allow it to enter on its own. As the hornet enters the nest, a large mob of about five hundred honey bees surround the hornet, completely covering it and preventing it from moving, and begin quickly vibrating their flight muscles. This has the effect of raising the temperature of the honey bee mass to 47 °C (117 °F). Though the honey bees can tolerate such a temperature, it is fatal to the intruder, which can handle a maximum temperature of about 45 °C (113 °F), and is effectively baked to death by the large mass of vibrating bees. Often several bees perish along with the intruder in this way, having sacrificed themselves for the survival of the colony.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_giant_hornet

First posted: SUNDAY, AUGUST 24, 2008

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s