July 2, 2022

When Murder Hornets Attack, Bees Respond with “Shrieks”

The murder hornet is a formidable predator. It’s venomous and relentless, and it can wipe out an entire colony of honeybees in just hours. But when the bees sense danger, they don’t go down without a fight—they shriek to warn their fellow colony members that there’s an intruder on their turf.

This opening paragraph has been written as if this blog post is about bees attacking humans with knives – which would be terrifying! But this is actually about bees making loud noises when another animal enters their area.

Whoa, I was not expecting that! The paragraph doesn’t make sense in the context of the article. It would be like saying The murder bear can wipe out entire colonies of humans instead of murder bees, only with much less shock value.

Red-tailed hawks have a different solution. The raptors prey on murder hornets, and they can handle the venom. They likely evolved antibodies to the toxin over time, but there’s another intriguing possibility they might avoid getting stung altogether. One red-tailed hawk was observed flying away from a murder-hornet nest when the hornets attacked.

And it flew away, what a hero. A murder of crows would have just fought them or maybe killed the hawk to get its treasure, but this guy is smart enough to run away with its life!

So how do they avoid the stings? The hawks certainly try their best—they can dodge an onslaught of attacks—but it’s possible that they don’t have to, because murder-hornet venom can’t hurt them.

Okay okay, I get it. The raptor is the murderer bear but with wings! No need for this extra explanation that doesn’t make sense in the context of the article.

Red-tailed hawks are believed to be immune to the venom of their prey, which also includes other types of hornets. But until now, no one has studied how red-tailed hawks avoid getting stung when they attack a murder-hornet nest.

And that’s where we come in! We’ll observe red-tailed hawks and find out what exactly they do at murder-hornet nests to avoid being stung! This isn’t really about the birds, so let’s stop talking about them.

Hornets are incredibly aggressive animals. While attack bees will only sting invaders who come too close to their hives, hornets will chase foes for several meters before stopping their pursuit. Not only that, but they use poison to subdue their prey.

So that’s why the raptor flies away! Not because it can’t die from those stings due to some magical immunity, just because taking them down would be too much of a hassle for it and its tiny murder bear body.

If an intruder sticks around long enough, the hornets will eventually give up and fly back to the nest—and that’s when they’re most vulnerable.

Okay, I got it first time around. But this paragraph is confusing because it doesn’t go with what we had before. It would make way more sense if the intruder was a human who had some kind of mini-hive he keeps around his neck to protect him from murder-hornet stings – then the raptor could pick those hornets off from a distance.