Bees use animal dung to prevent giant “killing” hornets

Asian Giant Hornet

The world’s largest hornet, the Asian giant hornet (Vespa Mandarin), Popularly known as the “Murder Hornet”. Credit: Washington State Department of Agriculture

The bees spread animal dung at the entrances of their forces, blocking giant hornets.

If you are a bee what is the best way to prevent giant hornets? Animal dung, first according to a study by Guelph University.

A G Asian Hornet (Vespa Sorer) His North American relatives are known as the “killer horns.”

This was the first discovery that documented the use of tools by bees.

An invasive species in North America, originally from Asia, the giant hornets are almost as long as a golf tea and pack seven times as much venom in a sting as a normal bee.

Homicide horns (V. mandarinia) were discovered in 2019 in British Columbia and Washington. The arrival of the poisonous pest in North America has raised concerns about human safety and threats to local bees and ecosystems.

Professor Gord Otis, who has studied bees in Vietnam for decades, said hornets could eventually carry out similar bee hive experiments in North America.

“The biggest wasps that threaten bees are giant hornets. They are one of their most important predators,” said the environmental science professor.

Odysseus conducted the study with leading author Heather Mattila, who completed his PhD at the University of Guelph in 2006 and is now a professor of biology at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Other co-teachers are former U.S. students of G graduate students Han Pam and Olivia Knight, as well as Nokok Pam and Lian Quinn in Vietnam.

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Recently published in the magazine PLOS ONE, This study was conducted in Vietnam, where U’s G researchers conducted the study V. Sorer.

The bee carries the dung in its mouth

The bee carries the dung in its mouth. Credit: Heather Mattila

Odysseus said these two species are the only hornets that employ nestmates in organized attacks that lead to nest violations. Hornets attack nests, kill bees, carry larvae and pupae and feed on their own growing pups.

Researchers have found that bees have developed a precautionary measure by collecting animal dung and using it at hive entrances.

“This study demonstrates that these bees have very bad traits that they have to defend against really bad prey,” Mattila said.

He said that unlike Asian counterparts, bees do not have similar protection in Canada. That means North American beekeepers must rely on destroying hornets’ nests, or they believe climate or other factors will reduce the spread of hornets.

Referring to the bee species Apis mellifera, which is common in Canada, Matilla said, “They have not had the opportunity to build defenses. It’s like going into a war cold. ”

Odysseus began the project after asking beekeepers in Vietnam about dark spots at the hive entrances to Asian bees. As part of a successful beekeeping program funded by the Canadian government, he conducted fall workshops in highly impoverished rural villages from 2007 to 2011.

During a visit, an experienced beekeeper explained that this material is buffalo dung. All the beekeepers who worked at Odyssov linked these hive places with hornets. “Dung collection is a behavior that was not previously reported to bees, and no one has studied this phenomenon,” he said.

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In 2013, the UFG team received $ 25,000 from the National Geographical Society for research.

Giant hornets at the entrance to a hive

Giant hornets at the entrance to a hive without dung. Credit: Heather Mattila

The researchers collected manure from water buffalo, chickens, pigs and cows and placed it on the mounds near a bee farm. At the end of the day, about 150 bees visited the piles, especially collecting foul-smelling manure from pigs and chickens.

This group identified individual bees to identify their hives. A few minutes later, they recorded videos of marked bees using the substance at the nest entrances.

Hornets spent less than half their time finding moderate and heavy dung at hive entrances, they had hives with few spots, and they spent only a tenth of chewing on hive entrances to bee hives. They were less likely to carry out mass attacks on large-scale forces.

Although they suspect that insects are repelled by the smell of dung, researchers do not know what prevents hornets. Dung can also mask beeswax odors.

To further understand the behavior of hornets, researchers isolated the chemical pheromone used by hornets when referring to their target hive. When pheromone was applied to the bee gate, the bees were induced to use manure on the hive.

Many scientists disagree on whether some animals – let alone insects – use tools.

To qualify as tool users, animals must meet a number of criteria, including the use of an object from the environment – in this case, dung. The bees use the material to replace the hive purpose, Odis said. They design and shape it with mouth parts that meet the test of holding or handling a tool, he said.

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Beekeepers in Vietnam generally control hornets by standing safely and chasing individuals, preventing them from escalating attacks.

“If you allow them, a group of hornets will come together, attack the colony and capture it. The beekeepers move between their forces each day and control them by beating the horns. ”

Odysseus said he was initially scared of working near giant hornets. He said hazmat cases commonly worn by researchers in Japan for protection were impossible in the Vietnamese heat. Within a few days, the team learned that the hornets were not defensive when they were in the beehive and were away from their hive.

“I stumbled upon someone, it was the most horrible sting in my life.”

Note: 9 December 2020, PLOS ONE.
DOI: 10.1371 / Magazine.Phone.0242668

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