Horrifying video shows murder hornet being ambushed, ‘cooked’ to death by honey bees after invading hive

The murder hornet, which was recently spotted in Washington state, is considered an invasive species and poses a significant threat to the honey bee population


                            Horrifying video shows murder hornet being ambushed, ‘cooked’ to death by honey bees after invading hive
(Getty Images)

The Asian giant hornet, better known as the murder hornet, has been in the news recently after it was reportedly sighted around the city of Blaine in the US state of Washington.

Residents have been understandably terrified of running into one because of its notorious reputation -- they kill over 50 people a year in their native Japan -- but are taking hope from a new viral video that shows it being on the receiving end of some pain.

The video, which has been making the rounds on Twitter, shows how Japanese honeybees deal with the murder hornet after it entered their hive.

After it enters, the hornet makes the mistake of attacking one of the bees, prompting the rest of the hive to retaliate. The bees then band together to cover the hornet and, for all intents and purposes, cook it alive. 

"The way Japanese bees deal with murder hornets is just brutal but satisfying," wrote the uploader of the clip, which has been viewed over 5.8 million times since it was uploaded three days ago, and has over 40,000 retweets, and 165,000 likes.

Katy Prudic, an associate professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona, explained that despite their size and deadly stinger -- they grow up to 1.8 inches and inject nearly seven times as much venom as a honey bee -- certain insects had developed a defense mechanism against them.

"Japanese honeybees have evolved an ambush defense against these hornets," she said. "When a hornet scout finds a honeybee hive, the honeybees lure her in, then collectively pounce on the hornet, beating their wings as much as they can."

"This flurry attack raises the temperature around the hornet, eventually killing her and a few of the honeybees closest to her. The hive will remain undiscovered to the hornet colony and live to see another day."

"This adaptation is not seen in European honeybees, which are common domesticated pollinators used in our agriculture systems. So, if this hornet becomes a pest, we might have to figure out a way to get them to behave more like a Japanese honeybee through some sort of genetic modification."

The murder hornets are an invasive species and their sighting in the US has concerned scientists, who are eager to see them eliminated before they become too big of a problem and start decimating honeybee colonies.

Washington State University researchers said the hornets attack the beehive, as seen in the viral video, decapitate and kill the adults, and then eat the larvae and pupae. Just a couple of them can destroy an entire hive in a matter of hours.

While it is still unclear how they made their way to the U.S., Karla Salp, a spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Agriculture, suggested it may have been via "unwitting hitchhikers on something like shipping containers."

"During this trapping season and with the help of public education and encouragement to report suspected sightings, we hope to have a better idea of where they are as well as to eradicate them if we can," he shared.

You can watch the video here.

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