Who would have thought poop can be a superpower? Apparently, that is what honeybees in Hanoi, Vietnam thinks.
Asian Giant Hornets, also known as murder hornets, are known to be notoriously dangerous currently present in the United States. Last month, they found over 500 murder hornets, including 200 queens.
They have caused great concern among wildlife experts and beekeepers because they threaten the native honeybees, which are their primary target, by invading honeybees' hives and killing them off swiftly.
But researchers recently found that some honeybees in Vietnam appear to have developed a defense mechanism using their poop to ward off these pesky invaders. It seems to be effective as it keeps murder hornets away from the honeybees' hives and keeps them safe from any attack.
Stockpiling poop as a defense mechanism against murder hornets
In this case, the bees are the Apis cerana or Asian honey bees, which rely on feces as protection against the Vespa soror, which is similar to the feared murder hornets in the US poorly studied. The Vespa soror lives in China and some parts of southeast Asia, which attack in groups to take over beehives, USA Today reported.
The research paper, published in PLOS One, revealed that the honeybees in Vietnam are adapting to the presence of the murder hornets in their area. Researchers reveal that the bees stockpile the poop and pee to spread the nasty stuff on their hives to keep the murder hornets away. The mounds of poop and pee are visible on the hives after the hornets attack, BGR reported.
The results were incredible as it seemed to have worked. According to the beekeepers, the honeybee hives that stockpiled poop in their hive were less likely attacked by the murder hornets a second time, which gives them the time to recover and get back to their business of pollinating the plants in the area and collecting nectar to make honey.
"A remarkable weapon in the already sophisticated portfolio of defenses that honey bees have evolved in response to the predatory threats they face," the researchers said.
It's An Eastern Thing
It is such a relief that honeybees also evolved to protect themselves against these invasive bees. However, this defense mechanism might not apply to the honeybees here in the United States and North America.
Unlike the Eastern honeybees who have health murder hornets for so long, the western honeybees have little experience yet with the hornet, which puts them at a disadvantage of not evolving to something that can perform that defense mechanism.
Wildlife officials are doing their best to eradicate the murder hornets in the United States as there have been a few sightings of the invasive bees in the past few years. Perhaps in the future, western honeybees will also develop the same defense mechanism as their eastern counterparts. If not, and attacks will continue, it could mean serious trouble for the honeybees.