Environmental

Honey Bees Use Animal Dung to Fend Off Giant “Murder” Hornets

Honeybees spread animal dung on the entrance of their hives to effectively ward off giant hornets.

What’s the best way to ward off giant hornets if you’re a honeybee? Animal dung, according to a first-ever University of Guelph study.

U of G researchers have discovered honeybees in Vietnam collect and apply spots of animal dung around hive entrances to deter deadly nest raids by an Asian hornet (Vespa soror) whose North American cousins have been dubbed “murder hornets.”

This finding is also the first to document the use of tools by honeybees.

An invasive species in North America that came originally from Asia, giant hornets are almost as long as a golf tee and pack about seven times as much venom in a single sting as an ordinary honeybee.

Murder hornets (V. mandarinia) were discovered in 2019 in British Columbia and Washington. The arrival of the venomous insect to North America has raised concerns about human safety as well as threats to local honeybees and ecosystems.

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