Watching These Honeybees “Shimmer” To Defend Their Hive Is Mesmerizing

Written by Crystal
Published: December 30, 2022
© Jones-Warner
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Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

Bees don’t just buzz; they also shimmer! In this fun scene, you’ll see a large hive of Japanese honeybees. The hive alone is impressive to see. But what makes this video so unique is how the bees behave. Working in unison to move their bodies, the colony members create a wave-like visual effect. It’s a beehive shimmer, and it’s mesmerizing!

Bees have been around for 30 million years. That’s a lot of time to perfect their uniform movements. They’re an incredibly important species that shape our world through pollination. Just one type of bees, honey bees, are responsible for pollinating 80% of all flowering plants. In fact, without them, our diets would look dramatically different, since, in the US alone, they pollinate around 130 agricultural crops, including fruit, vegetable, and nuts!

honeybee on a flower
Honey bees pollinate 80% of all flowering plants, including around 130 of the agricultural crops in the United States.

©Daniel Prudek/

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Japanese Honey Bees

This short, awe-inspiring video shows a hive of Japanese honey bees. These bees have a few distinctive features that set them apart from European honey bees. For instance, they have four abdominal bands and the presence of drones. Drones are larger-eyed male bees with thick abdomens. This type of bee doesn’t have a stinger. But they possess a pollen basket on their third set of legs to help collect and transport pollen.

Why Do Beehives Shimmer?

Yes, bees can shimmer, and that’s what makes this video worth watching. But why are they moving like that in the first place? Why do beehives shimmer?

This phenomenon, known as the “Mexican wave” of honey bees, is a fascinating display of collective behavior. Bees use this behavior to defend themselves when predators threaten their hive. The bees gather together to create a ripple effect formation by flipping their abdomens upward. Their unified movement creates a shimmering ripple, much like the one seen in a human stadium.

Researchers believe this behavior is an effective way for the bees to deter predators by confusing them. This can prevent them from choosing individual targets and make it difficult to estimate the size of their colony. The synchronized movements of the bees also create heat and noise. This hot, noisy scene can confuse potential attackers.

Honey bees can also communicate by dancing; a unique figure-8 “waggle” dance is used to tell other bees where a good source of pollen or nectar is located.

More Defensive Bee Behaviors

In addition to shimmering, bees also use other defensive behaviors. For instance, they can surround predators and vibrate their bodies in unison. Doing so raises the air temperature around their predators and makes them uncomfortable. They may also “buzz” by flying vigorously around an intruder to generate sound and vibrations. To make their distinctive buzzing sound, their wings stroke 11,400 times per minute! This can disorient the intruder and force it to leave the hive. It’s incredible how bees use movement and sound to protect their hive.

Beehive Behaviors

There can be over 50,000 bees in one beehive at a time. During the early summer months, a colony may contain between 40,000 and 60,000 bees. The hive in this video definitely appears to be at full capacity.

The Japanese honey bee is a remarkable species to watch in action! See a bee hive shimmer in the video below. It’ll brighten up your day.

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Bee, Beehive, Honey Bee, Honey, UK
Bees are a symbol of new beginnings, hard work, and wisdom.
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About the Author

Crystal is a curious writer who's always looking to learn more. When she's not out in nature, she's writing about it. Animals, plants, survival tips, and more. It'll be exciting to watch this author grow and learn with her along the way.

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