It has nearly been a year since news broke out that more than 40 million bees were found dead in Canadian apiaries, the prime suspect being neonicotinoids, a suspicious and yet highly commercialized group of chemical pesticides. Some time after this, we came to know how the UK lost more than 50% of it’s bee population in the same year, all due to the carelessness of human interests and activities.
This makes you wonder, doesn’t it? For how long can we carry on with a self-destruct, kamikaze mode and not realize how stupid we are?
If you don’t believe me, just ask the Japanese Honeybee about its never-ending battle with the Asian Giant Hornet, it’s mortal foe. The honeybee has no physical defenses against the hornet which on the other hand boasts of a highly-potent sting, a crushing pair of mandibles and its enormous size. No more than thirty hornets can massacre an entire colony of thirty-thousand bees in less than one hour. Over a thousand honeybees are practically butchered by ONE single hornet.
Now that’s totally scary, isn’t it ? But not quite the end of this hornet’s menace !!
They are also responsible for scores and scores of human deaths, around forty-two last year in China alone – many of them bee-keepers or people who live near apiaries. Nevertheless, our ever-helpful companion, the Japanese HoneyBee has devised an ingenious”military” tactic by virtue of which it successfully foils the hornet’s evil schemes (right on the nose of that demonic, crazy bug).
“When an Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) scout locates and approaches a Japanese honeybee hive it will emit specific pheromonal hunting signals. When the honeybees detect these pheromones, about one hundred will gather near the entrance of the nest and set up a trap, keeping it open apparently to draw the hornet further into the hive or allow it to enter on its own.
As the hornet enters the nest, a large ball (see image) of about five hundred honeybees surround it, completely covering it and preventing it from moving.
The bees in the ball begin quickly vibrating their flight muscles, raising the temperature within the honeybee mass. In addition, the activity of the bees sharply raises the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration within the ball. Japanese honeybees can generate temperatures of about 46 °C (115 °F), and at the CO2 concentrations they produce, they can tolerate temperatures of up to 51 °C(124 °F). However, the hornet cannot survive under these conditions for more than 10 minutes, resulting in its death. Several bees may die along with the intruder, but the death of the hornet scout prevents it from summoning reinforcements which could wipe out the colony.” – Wikipedia
There are SO many lessons of teamwork, unity, valor and self-sacrifice that one can learn from this tiny little insect. What can you not love about honeybees or animals in general? Even the Asian Giant Hornet plays an extremely important role in maintaining ecological balance, preying on pests and regulating the populations of several creepy-crawlies. What are we humans busy doing, by the way? Assassinating Gandhi Ji, Abe Lincoln and reading tabloid stories…. How about the Syrian conflict, drone strikes and the West-Gate mall attack?
Tell you something ironic, the Japanese weren’t exactly “satisfied” with this species of honeybee, their OWN species. So, they decided to import the fancy European honeybee into Japan because it produces honey more efficiently than it’s Japanese counterpart. However, what they didn’t realize is that hoity toity Eurobee ain’t got no brains to battle the malicious Asian Hornet !! The whole idea virtually collapsed when thousands and thousands of European Honeybee’s were left decapitated, their larvae chomped up and the honey looted in many bee yards. Thus, the humble Japanese Honeybee was once again crowned as the country’s flower-queen.
We have so much to learn from animals !!!
Aamir Ahmad Amin