Just when you thought bees couldn't get any cooler, scientist found new information about just how smart they are. In a recent study of Asian honeybees, scientists looked at how bees defended their hives against the Giant Hornet, or the Murder Hornet as Americans call it. Murder hornets are 1.5 - 2 inches long and they carry a toxic venom, similar to a snake. Multiple stings can be deadly. Sadly, these hornets are known to wipe out entire colonies of honeybees in a matter of hours simply by ripping their heads off.
So how do beekeepers and colonies protect themselves from this hornet? In this recent study, Asian honeybees were noted bringing animal feces back to the entrance of their hives. Yes, for the first time, scientists observed bees collecting non plant matter. The animal feces, and in some cases human urine, was smeared around the entrance of the hive by the bees.
The fascinating results of this study showed that Murder Hornets spent 94% less time chewing around the hives with the fecal matter, then the hives without it. In other words, the Asian Honeybees came up with their own defense strategy to defend their colonies from this predator.
Unfortunately, European honeybees which are most common in the United States have not developed this defense mechanism. Will it develop over time? Potentially. Time will tell.