Murder Hornets Defeated by Feces Bees Use to Protect Hives

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Honeybee in Vietnam is using its feces to protect their beehive entrances from murder hornets. Murder hornets are also known as Asian giant hornets; they are the largest hornet in the world. The Asian natives have started to invade North America.

Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologists discovered a hornet nest in October with over 200 queens inside of it. Each queen is capable of producing its own nest. On Dec. 10, 2020, the team destroyed the nest because murder hornets are known for killing honey bees.

Murder HornetsMurder hornets can destroy an entire beehive in just a few hours. They observed that the bees also used soap scum and human urine for the same thing.

The University of Guelph in Ontario discovered that bees used animal excrement and published their research in PLOS One. Researchers wrote:

“Workers collected feces at dung piles throughout the study. We also observed them searching for feces in a nearby chicken coop.”

In August, 72 beekeepers were surveyed during the time murder hornets were attacking more frequently. Out of the 72 beekeepers, only five kept western bee colonies, 67 of them kept eastern bee colonies, and only 63 of them noticed spots on the front of their hives.

There was a median of 15 colonies per beekeeper, and they noticed  74 percent of their colonies covered in poop. The mounds of poop were noticed on the hives following attacks of murder hornets, so researchers considered it the bee’s response to the attack.

Written by Jessica Letcher
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


CNN: Honeybees use poop to ward off those terrifying murder hornets; by Leah Asmelash
The New York Times: Menaced by Murder Hornets, Bees Decorate Their Hives With Feces; by Katherine J. Wu
New York Post: These honeybees use feces as a weapon against murder hornets; by Yaron Steinbuch

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of HYAKUNEKO’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Pete Favelle’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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