BUDDHA BEES AND THE GIANT ASIAN HORNET SCOUT
To round out this week, we’ve found some amazing videos about Japanese Buddha Bees.
On Honshu Island, Japanese bees are so sensitive that it takes great patience and skill to keep them. Yamaguchi has kept wild Japanese bees since childhood.
Japanese bees produce less honey than European bees, but the taste is very special. The smell of this energy-rich honey can be their downfall if it draws in a giant hornet scout. The Achilles Heel of giant hornets is that they are unable to cope with high temperatures. When a hornet finds Yamaguchi’s wild bees, they fan an alarm pheromone into the air, warning the hive of impending danger.
Unlike European bees, the Japanese bees do not attack, instead they lure the scout inside. The bees wait until the hornet grabs a bee, and that is their signal to attack. They start piling on top of the hornet and vibrating their bodies, while the hornet at the bottom of the bee ball starts overheating. These bees have the advantage of 2 degrees heat tolerance over that of their enemy. So at 46 degrees Celsius or 114.8 degrees Farenheit, the aggressor is roasted alive.
The wild bees have lived with the enemy for millions of years, so they alone have devised this unique survival strategy.
This BBC Earth video is 5:24 minutes and shows Buddha Bees Killing A Giant Asian Hornet scout:
JAPANESE BEES SWARM THE ORCHID
Taste and smell are the primary senses of Japanese wild bees. When they are confronted with an orchid that mimics the scent of a giant hornet, these wild bees display their deadliest defense mechanism – they swarm.
Japanese wild bees swarm in spring and Yamaguchi takes advantage of this. Spring is a magical time, filled with blossoms. It is the time he collects his wild bees. All he needs to lure them is an orchid in bloom and an empty beehive.
He places the orchid in front of the beehive and waits. When his oriental orchid casts its scent on the breeze, deceit is in the air. A wild honeybee is bewitched. It’s not nectar that rivets her but the smell of her mortal enemy. The bee attacks the petals. Determined to fight, she becomes ensnared and forced to bear pollen.
By mimicking the scent of the giant hornet, the orchid exploits the ancient enmity between the two insects and uses it to her advantage for pollination. Another pheromone release calls in more bees, they can’t overcome their instinct to attack what they think is their greatest enemy.
Some wild bees tire and see the empty hive, as if it is a gift, but then they leave. Eventually the entire swarm arrives, and they descend onto the orchid plant with the intent to kill it, destroying the orchid bloom. The swarm has brought the Queen Bee. She approves of the new hive so they all settle in to their new home. The destroyed orchid is testimony of their hatred for their bitter rival, the giant Asian hornet.
This BBC Earth video is 4:40 minutes long and learn by watching the calm and patient Yamaguchi as he uses an orchid to gather a swarm of wild bees:
BUDDHA BEE APIARY -- LIVING ON THE BIG RED PEPPER BEE BUS
For those with a little more time to watch an 18:17 minute video, this is the story of the enchanting mobile beekeeping family of Buddha Bee Apiary and how they make money and travel all the time. Living on the Big Red Pepper Bee Bus, Justin, Juby and their beautiful daughter Azalea travel around a triangular area of the eastern USA.
These beekeepers and honey merchants have a unique concept on how to live the beekeeping life. Their story is inspiring for everyone, but for those who are nomadic at heart it may plant seeds of ideas on alternative ways to become a beekeeper. It's fun to watch this sweet family as they move around and tend to their bees.
Happy weekend, and thank you for reading our blog posts. We truly value your presence. Bee safe!