Watch the Distinctive Defense Strategies of Western and Japanese Honeybees

Written by Chris Madden
Updated: October 23, 2023
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Discover the contrasting defense strategies of Western and Japanese honeybees as they combat the menacing asian giant hornets. Initially, the video below unveils the Western honeybees’ bold offensive approach. Fearlessly, they engage the hornet head-on, but tragically, they often meet a gruesome fate, torn apart by their formidable adversary.

However, the clip quickly shifts to the ingenious tactics employed by their Japanese counterparts. These clever honeybees exhibit remarkable patience as they await the hornet’s intrusion into their nest. Then at the opportune moment, they carefully choose to strike.

Prepare to be captivated by this video below that highlights the fascinating strategies of Western and Japanese honeybees, demonstrating their unwavering determination to protect their colonies from the threat of giant “killer” hornets.

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Once the hornet breaches their sanctuary, the Japanese honeybees swiftly launch a collective assault. They swarm around the colossal intruder, their flight muscles vibrating with a purpose. Through this orchestrated movement, they generate an inferno of heat, ingeniously transforming their nest into a furnace of doom.

The intense heat proves fatal, as the hornet is slowly cooked alive, succumbing to the relentless onslaught. But the Japanese honeybees’ defense doesn’t end there. They employ another cunning tactic by depleting the oxygen within this crowded ball of bees! By using the oxygen all themselves, the genius bees leave the hornet gasping for breath and sealing its fate with suffocation. And these aren’t the only fantastic tricks that honeybees can employ!

In this remarkable display of adaptability and unity, the Japanese honeybees emerge triumphant, safeguarding their hive and ensuring their survival. This is truly an awe-inspiring spectacle of nature’s unyielding resilience and ingenious defense mechanisms.

Honeybee on bold yellow flower

75% of the world’s crops rely on pollinators. Creating bee gardens helps the planet.

©Maciej Olszewski/

The Many Enemies of a Honeybee Hive

The defense tactics employed by honeybees against hornets serve as a remarkable testament to their ability to defend against various predators. Just as Japanese honeybees use their collective strength to form a “heat ball” and suffocate invading hornets, honeybees exhibit similar strategies against other threats. When facing off against predators such as wasps or ants, honeybees unite as a cohesive force, stinging and biting relentlessly to repel the intruders. Additionally, they utilize their intricate communication system to warn fellow hive members, mobilizing them into action. Whether it’s their coordinated attacks, venomous stings, or alarm signals, honeybees have evolved an impressive repertoire of defense mechanisms to safeguard their colonies. These tactics illustrate their unwavering determination and adaptability, highlighting the incredible strategies honeybees employ to defend against a wide range of predators in their relentless quest to protect their hive and ensure the survival of their species.

The Ecological Impact of Japanese Honeybees

Asian Giant Hornet, Bee, Animal Wing, Close-up, Insect

The giant Asian hornet poses a serious ecological threat to western honeybees, who aren’t as capable as fighting back.

© Uehara

The Japanese giant hornets, relentless predators of the insect world, pose a grave threat to Western honeybees. Unlike their Japanese counterparts, Western honeybees lack the evolutionary defense tactics necessary to combat these formidable foes. When confronted by a swarm of giant hornets, the Western honeybees find themselves at a disadvantage. With their larger size and powerful mandibles, the hornets decimate the honeybee colonies with terrifying efficiency.

Their venomous stingers inject potent toxins that swiftly immobilize the honeybees, while their sheer strength allows them to tear through their prey. Tragically, the absence of the specialized defense mechanism that the Japanese honeybees possess leaves the Western honeybees vulnerable to annihilation, as they face the overwhelming force of these monstrous invaders. As you saw in the video above, the size difference between the Western honeybee and the Japanese hornet is staggering. It is a sobering testament to the power of adaptation and the delicate balance of nature, where the absence of a crucial defense can tip the scales in favor of the relentless predators.

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Chris is a lifelong animal lover with a passion for writing and a natural tendency to explore the internet in pursuit of new wildlife and nature facts! He is completing his Bachelors in Political Science at Concordia University in the Spring of 2024 after a science-centric high school career. Aside from studying and writing for A-Z Animals, he has a budding music career and enjoy spending time outside year-round, from swimming to skiing!

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