Thursday, March 29, 2012

Japanese Honeybees have a ball

You got to love the Japanese honeybees.
When under attack, they work together with to attack their enemies, researchers are also saying their brains may actually be processing and responding to the threat.

When confronted with their enemy, the aggressive giant Asian hornet, the honeybees will attack it by swarming as a organized group.
They surround  the hornet by forming what scientists call a "hot defensive bee ball" - an unusual maneuver for their species.

With up to 500 bees all vibrating their flight muscles at once, the bee ball actually cooks the hornet to death.

Researchers at Japan's University of Tokyo say, "When the hornet, the Japanese honeybee's natural enemy, enters a colony, the bees quickly form the surrounding ball,  crank up the temperature for about 20 minutes, and in about an hour, the hornet dies inside the ball.

Researchers were surprised that the bees used such well coordinated teamwork during the attack.

"When an outsider enters, the honeybees are immediately on their guard. Then, all at once, they gather to attack," researchers said.
"So, it isn't one commanding all the rest, we believe in this moment of emergency they're acting collectively."