A single Japanese giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica) can kill forty honeybees a minute. A small group of them can decimate an entire bee colony. The hornet’s scissor-like teeth can wreak havoc on their prey so swiftly that Japanese honeybees had to adapt to survive.
Instead of stinging the intruder, the honeybees swarm the hornet and begin vibrating, raising their collective temperature to 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47.2 ºC) and turning their crush of bodies into somewhat of a convection oven. While the honeybees can tolerate temperatures of 118 degrees Fahrenheit (47.8 ºC), Japanese giant hornets can only tolerate 115 degrees (46.1 ºC).
Watch the honeybees save their colony in a three minute video below.
photo credit: Wikimedia Commons: Vespa simillima xanthoptera01, Takahashi
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