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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Oriental Hornet (Vespa orientalis) is indigenous to the region where I am keeping my bees. I am rearing an endemic subspecies (Apis mellifera ruttneri) and as such has been living with the hornet for millennia. This video shows certain strategies that these honeybees have evolved to evade a hornet invasion;

Time 0:02 Strategy 1: Special Flight
Time 1:07 Strategy 2: Hive Entrance Reduced with Propolis
Time 1:20 Strategy 3: Bees on Alert! Ready to Attack!
Time 1:49 Strategy 4: Honeybees Attack Hornets

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Although not visible in the video, at one time an oriental hornet flew over the honeybees. The reaction of the bees was caught on camera. They stay together to defend better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This subspecies of the Western Honeybee (Apis mellifera ruttneri) has evolved strategies to fight off the Oriental Hornet (Vespa orientalis). In this video, a single honeybee attacks a hornet.

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
STRATEGIES EVOLVED BY HONEYBEES AGAINST ORIENTAL HORNET
This video features special strategies that were evolved by a particular subspecies of the honeybee in order to evade an attack from the Oriental Hornet. Let me first start by giving you some background about the situation. This footage was shot on the Island of Malta where the honeybee (Apis mellifera) and the Oriental hornet (Vespa orientalis) are both indigenous. Meaning that they have been living together on the island before the arrival of man. In other words, the honeybee survived the presence of the hornet without any human intervention for millennia.

On the island of Malta there is a particular subspecies of the western honeybee, Apis mellifera ruttneri. This particular subspecies has evolved special strategies to control attacks by the Oriental Hornet and is even capable of killing it. In the past, these mechanisms of protection worked perfectly well as the population of hornets was always kept in check. However, lately due to various factors which are all due to human interference, have helped to boost the population of the Oriental Hornet - to a point that is becoming difficult for the honeybee to deal with.

Sustainable beekeeping is paramount if we want the rearing of bees to thrive. Rearing local subspecies of honeybees is a necessity if we want to be sustainable in our practices. The endemic honeybee has been living in Malta for millions of years and its survival in itself shows that it is well suited for the local conditions, on the contrary, foreign bees, as expected are not well adopted and usually do not live long.

We are going to show you some strategies that the endemic honeybee, Apis mellifera ruttneri has evolved against the Oriental Hornet.

02:28 Blocking Hive Entrance with Propolis
First, they are capable to seal off the hive entrance with propolis in a matter of a few hours. This reduces the size of the entrance and thus they can control better what goes in.

02:45 Fighting Off the Hornet
They are not scared to fight off the hornet as you can see from the following video. In addition, they can also attack a hornet and kill it, by balling it en masse. Although not visible in this video, at one time an oriental hornet flew over the honeybees. The reaction of the bees was caught on camera. Here you can observe their reaction.

03:47 Honeybees Stay on Alert
Another adaptation is that certain number of honeybees stay at the hive entrance on alert for any hornets. If a hornet dares to go in, they would ball it to death.

04:09 Special Flight
The final strategy that we are going to show you is how the honeybees fly while leaving or returning to the hive. They make it difficult for the hornet to catch them.

 
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