JAPANESE GIANT HORNET (Vespa mandarinia japonica) Photographer uncredited
Sometimes nature works in mysterious ways; and why local species are often better suited to fight native enemies. The story of the Japanese Giant Hornet and two species of honey bees…
In Japan, beekeepers often prefer European honey bees because they are more productive than the endemic Japanese honey bees. However, these hornets will often prey on the bees.
Once a Japanese giant hornet has located a hive of European honey bees it leaves pheromone markers around it which attract nest mates. A single hornet can kill forty European honey bees in a minute and a group of 30 hornets can finish off an entire hive containing 30,000 bees in about three hours. The hornets not only kill the bees, but also dismember them. They return to their nest with the bee thoraxes which they feed to their own larvae. The hornets also gorge themselves on the bees’ honey.
The native Japanese honey bee, has a defense against attacks of this manner. When a hornet approaches the hive. the bee workers emerge in an angry cloud-formation with some 500 individuals. They form a tight ball around the hornet and their vibrating wings increases the temperature forming a convection oven. Because bees can survive higher temperatures than the hornet, the latter dies.
These hornets are large, but not particularly aggressive with humans, however being stung is extremely painful and requires hospital treatment. On average 40 people die every year of anaphylactic shock after having been stung.
Fact Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_giant_hornet
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