Honeybees and Giant Japanese Hornets - Bee Mission

Honeybees and Giant Japanese Hornets

by Katy - Bee Missionary November 14, 2019

Honeybees and Giant Japanese Hornets

Today we’re going for a change of pace by looking at the dark side of another terrifying existential threat to honeybees, although thankfully it is geographically somewhat contained.  

It's only fair to warn you that this short video does not have a positive outcome for the honeybees, unlike most of our blog posts where we usually keep things light. But this is a true depiction of something that happens in nature, at least in Japan.

The Japanese giant hornet is one of the deadliest hornets in the world. In this video, 30 giant hornets fly out to scour the landscape, looking for prey in the foothills of Mount Fuji in Japan. They then split up to engage in a broader search. 

Each hornet has super sensitive scent receptors. One of them zooms in on the scent of a bee hive and starts moving in that direction. As the hornet lands, it leaves a scent mark so other hornets will be drawn to join in. 

The bold Japanese giant hornet enters the beehive in an attack stance and starts grabbing worker bees to devour them on the spot. The hornet goes up against the entire hive of honeybees that start to unleash thousands of venomous stings. The bees waste no time, immediately retaliating and encircling the giant hornet, climbing all over it.

The bees start to vibrate their flight muscles, generating heat rapidly. Thermal imagery shows how hot the hornet gets, and before you know it, they are literally cooking the hornet. 

This 2:46-minute video unfolds like a horror story. It was produced by BBC's sister station, Earth Unplugged. 

The bees frantically start trying to remove the hornet's scent from their beehive, knowing it will magnetize more trouble, but it is too late. The other hornets are already closing in on the scent. They land at the entrance to the hive and start attacking honey bees right away, stinging and pulverizing them with their fierce jaws.

The battle rages on for 3 exhausting hours and it is painful to watch. It is a devastating outcome for the bees. 30 giant hornets annihilate 30,000 honeybees in 3 hours. To add insult to injury, the hornets then feed on the bee larvae.

As disturbing as this video is to watch, it shows us one more deadly hazard that some honeybees face in Japan when it comes to sheer survival.

Is the Japanese giant hornet known to attack honeybees anywhere else in the world besides Japan? Please share with us over on our Facebook page. 

© 2019-2023 Bee Mission. All Rights Reserved.

Katy - Bee Missionary
Katy - Bee Missionary


By submitting this form, you agree to our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.