Watch Hundreds of Bee Avenge Their Friend’s Death and Maul a Murderous Hornet

Written by Opal
Published: February 1, 2023
© Ruzy Hartini/
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If one cliche is true, it’s “teamwork makes the dream work.” While many animals work and thrive in groups, bees take it to another level. Since honey bees are social insects, they dwell in sizable, well-organized family units. 

Highly evolved social insects perform a wide range of complicated functions that are not carried out by the vast majority of isolated insects. To survive in communal colonies, honey bees have evolved a variety of activities, including division of labor, intricate nest building, communicating, environmental management, and pollution monitoring. 

two bees eating honey
“Honey bees (as well as a few stingless bees) are the only ones that create honey and then consume it.”


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There’s no denying that these small but mighty insects are incredibly fascinating. Although they’re not generally territorial, a bee will put up a fight if something is invading their hive. They have a no-guest policy and one murderous hornet learned the hard way. 

Eusocial hornets are social insects that live in communities of several hundred individuals. However, unlike bees, they do not raise their offspring using nectar and pollen. Rather, hornets use the larvae of other bugs to nourish their own young. 

Therefore, a honey bee colony with a few thousand bees gives ravenous hornets and their offspring a lot of nourishment.

One Bad Decision

A hornet shown in a Tik Tok video is in a bee nest when it realized there was no way out. Almost instantly, these bees surrounded the hornet, protecting what is rightfully theirs. The physical, chemical, and behavioral barriers that honey bees have built to ward off hornets are collectively referred to as their “defense portfolios.”

There are several ways bees defend themselves. Everything from alarming sounds to certain pheromones can keep enemies away. Several types of honey bees emit high-pitched sounds to warn other colony members of dangers and fend them off. 

To alert nestmates of the oncoming danger of hornets, bees may release a warning pheromone. This can trigger a variety of protective reflexes. In an attempt to keep hornets from entering the nest, bees may construct a dense barricade at the entryway. 

It’s interesting to note that the honey bee Apis cerana has been seen using animal waste to stave off attacks by Asian giant hornets. But what we see in this video is something else entirely. 

As many as 500 honeybees swarm together and create a compact ball around the hornet when it enters a hive. The mixture of the carbon dioxide the bees breathe and the heat from their buzzing wings is fatal. The hornet dies after an hour or so.

A particular group of neurons is known as mushroom bodies, which are located in regions of a bee’s brain. These neurons are linked to learning and memory. They appear to become active as a result of the balling action. 

These identical neurons become more active simply by being exposed to heat. It’s not yet totally apparent what this entails. These neurons, according to the researchers, could assist the bees in keeping track of how hot the ball becomes and preventing overheating.

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Single Hornets are not normally aggressive but the swarm will vigorously protect their queen and nests if threatened.
© Ruzy Hartini/

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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

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