Leave Them Bee- The Honeybees That Fearfully Avoid Hornets

argylesock says… Don’t scare the bees! We need pollinators for crops and wild plants. There are many pollinating insects but one of those is the European honeybee (Apis mellifera). There are many kinds of hornet too, including the Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) which has become invasive in France, and which is expected to invade Britain soon. The post I reblog here is about experiments using Asian hornets and another kind of hornet to scare the Asian honeybee (Apis cerana). If our honebees behave like those Asian ones, they’re not going to like it when the hornets come. We might lose out on pollination.

The Plantwise Blog

In bees, fear is shown through avoiding dangerous food sites, thereby reducing the pollination of plants at the site. Scientists in this study looked at hornets (Vespa velutina and Vespa tropica) preying on the Asian honeybee (Apis cerana) in China. The hornets hunt bees on flowers and are themselves attacked by bees in defense. The study found that bees actively avoided feeders where predators were and decreased visitation to these risky sites. Bees treated the 4 fold more massive hornet species, Vespa tropica, as more dangerous, and these hornets received 4.6 fold more bee attackers than the smaller hornet species.

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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One Response to Leave Them Bee- The Honeybees That Fearfully Avoid Hornets

  1. Tony says:

    Indeed, you state that we don’t scare the bees! And the same can be said of our breeding birds and other wildlife. In fact, precisely how much we impact our wildlife by disturbing and preventing them from breeding is surely up for debate, but I guess us humans are adding to their woes. On a similar note, today I heard of another development of at least 49 houses in what was once an ancient meadow. Bat surveys were done in the vicinity and three different types were noted over the course of a few visits. I too, saw a Barn Owl hunting over this field a few years back. Now the wildlife has nowhere to go, but risk an attempt to breed in another fragmented part of the landscape somewhere nearby. Oops, I’m ranting, best have a lie down in a darkened room.

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