Bees Work Together In Order To Roast Predatory Hornets To Death

Bees Work Together In Order To Roast Predatory Hornets To Death

Anybody who has ever sustained a bee sting knows first hand that bees are not defenseless insects. It is hard to imagine any insect getting the best of a bee. Not only are bees relatively clever for insects, but they are also well equipped with defense capabilities. Bees are often predators to insects, and not the other way around. However, if there was only one type of insect that could be a threat to bees, it would definitely be another stinging insect, such as wasps or yellow jackets. Hornets pose a serious threat to bees, as they also possess a stinger that deals out a toxin that is more painful to humans that a bee sting. Sometimes hornets will succeed at killing a bee. However, bees have a secret to killing hornets, and it involves cooking them alive in a high heat environment. This may be hard to believe, but when a bee, or several bees feel threatened by a menacing hornet, they can band together in order to generate heat that reaches deadly temperatures.

Most of the time when bees feel threatened they can use their handy stingers as a method of attack or defense. However, a bee’s stinger is ineffective when combating hornets, as hornes possess a hard exoskeleton that cannot be penetrated by a bee’s stinger. Luckily bees can work together in order to outwit hornets in times when defense against the insects becomes necessary. When under threat from a hornet, Japanese honey bees will hover in the air in a formation that resembles a sphere. The bees then use their vibrating flight muscles to generate heat. The rapid flapping quickly heats up the center of the spherical bee formation to one hundred and sixteen degrees fahrenheit, which is hot enough to kill the threatening hornet. This defensive behavior was only discovered by researchers as recently as 2005. The defensive and spherical formations are referred to by experts as “bee balls”.

Do you think that this eusocial behavior is more advanced than any eusocial defensive behavior exhibited by termites?



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