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Bees ‘Shriek’ When Attacked by Giant ‘Murder Hornets’

Hornet bee

Hornet bee | Pixabay, Pexels

According to new research from Royal Society Open Science, UK, Honeybees “scream” to warn each other before Murder Hornets slaughtered them.

Bees produced a loud and frantic buzzing that resembles the panicked calls by vibrating their wings and exposing a gland to release a pheromone.

Giant hornets are one of the deadliest predators of Asian honey bees.
A “slaughter phase”,  it’s when the giant Asian hornets destroy a honeybee hive in just hours. Then the hornets eat on larvae and decapitate bees. Finally, the hornets feed severed body parts of the bees to their babies.

The noise that the bees produce before they attack “rallying call for collective defense”. It is similar to “alarm shrieks, fear screams and panic calls of primates, birds, and meerkats”. As The Royal Society research said.

How do bees defend themselves from Murder Hornets?

During the hornet attack, according to the research, the scream rates increase seven- to eight-fold. Bees resort to what it calls “fecal spotting”, which is a defense mechanism by collecting animal feces and applying it to the entrance of their hives.

Another way to defend themselves is “balling”. Bees can form into a cluster and vibrate their wing muscles to smother the hornet. Using the heat that the bees produced through vibration which can reach up to 46C, plus the bees’ carbon dioxide, the hornet can’t survive more than 30 minutes.

In the US The hornets came to greater public consciousness after the third giant hornet nest was discovered in Washington state.

The giant hornet can also harm humans, even causing fatalities. An entomologist who tried the hornet stung has described the feeling as like “having hot tacks pushed into my flesh”.

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