Days after Asian Giant Hornets dubbed 'Murder Hornets' were spotted in the US State of Washington raising alarm among beekeepers and scientists who've analysed that the insects will bring in wide-scale destruction, probably even push the bee population closer to extinction in the country, researchers have reasons to rejoice as they've come across a peculiar hunting pattern that honeybees have evolved to master, halfway across the world in Japan.
Hornets are considered to be a major threat to bees as they can devour through a hive in a few hours. According to a report by National Geographic, an Asian Giant Hornet can kill up to 40 bees a minute. Given the fact that the honeybees are one of the hornet's favourite diet protein sources, the bees have resorted to developing, although sinister, a completely foolproof tactic to fight back against the aggressor.
The Japanese honeybees have been seen killing the intruders by creating a ball around them. The insects pile on until the bees are able to "cook" the hornets to death. This is possible because the honey-makers are able to withstand higher temperatures.
Researchers who have conducted the study in Japan have learnt that the hive invader is usually lured in by the temptation of "easy game" and end up getting stuck in a sphere of bees, who then "roast" the hornets to death, with thousands of bees swarming around them and vibrating in a sort of "buzz" raising the temperature to as high as 47C.
Reportedly, the bees can kill the intruder in under an hour by simply cowering over them. Scientists believe the bees have developed this technique because stinging the hornets causes little damage owing to their unusually tough exoskeleton.
Bees generally pollinate plants producing fruit, nuts and vegetables, and are regarded as an essential part of the ecosystem as well as a nation's food industry. These Asian Giant Hornets pose a risk of decimating bee species in its habitat which are already on endangered lists due to their sharply declining numbers.