Honeybees use poop to ward off those terrifying murder hornets #Breaking112
The team of researchers found that honeybees in Vietnam collect animal poop and put it around the entrances of their nests in an effort to protect them from fatal murder hornet raids.
“Workers collected feces at our dung piles throughout the study; we also observed them foraging for feces in a nearby chicken coop,” researchers wrote, also noting that worker bees sometimes used soap scum and, on one occasion, human pee.
The team surveyed 72 beekeepers in late August, when attacks by murder hornets are frequent. Of those beekeepers, five kept colonies of only Western honeybees — and those keepers did not see the mounds of poop on their hives, the study says.
But of the 67 remaining beekeepers, who kept Eastern honeybees, 63 of them reported spots on the front of their hives. The beekeepers had a median of 15 colonies per keeper, and the keepers reported seeing the poop spots on an average of 74% of their colonies. The mounds of poop appeared following attacks from murder hornets, and researchers determined that they were a response to the atacks.
And it worked — researchers found that colonies with heavy to moderate spotting of poop had a reduced likelihood of being attacked, researchers said.
North American honey bees don’t have same defenses
This is the first research that has reported that these Eastern honeybee workers forage and use animal feces to defend themselves, and the team stated there’s no evidence the bees use the poop for much else.
But Western honeybees, the ones found in North America, aren’t as prepared for murder hornet attacks as their counterparts in the east.
“They haven’t had the opportunity to evolve defences,” Mattila said. “It’s like going into a war cold.”