Under attack by giant hornets, bees scream as rallying call for defence, reveals study 

WION Web Team
London Published: Nov 13, 2021, 09:00 AM(IST)

A swarm of bees (representative image). Photograph:( Reuters )

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As per a new study, bees scream when they are under attack by giant “murder” hornets. This new defence mechanism was revealed by a study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal this week. As per the research, the bees release a “rallying call for collective defence” against the hornets

If a new study is to be believed, bees scream when they are under attack by giant “murder” hornets.  

This new defence mechanism was revealed by a study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal this week. 

If left unchecked, the giant Asian hornets can completely destroy a honeybee hive in hours. In what scientists call a “slaughter phase”, they feed on larvae and decapitate bees. The hornets later also feed severed body parts to their young.

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As per the research, the bees release a “rallying call for collective defence” against the hornets.   

The signal, which was previously undiscovered, is now known as an “anti-predator pipe, shares acoustic traits with alarm shrieks, fear screams and panic calls of primates, birds and meerkats,” said the study.  

The bees produce the sound by vibrating their wings or thorax. It also elevates their abdomens and exposes a gland to release a pheromone.  

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Heather Mattila, a co-author of the study, told Gizmodo, “It’s alarming to hear. It’s characterised by rapid bursts of high-pitched sounds that change unpredictably in frequency – they’re quite harsh and noisy.”  

During a hornet attack, signal rates increase seven- to eight-fold, shared the study.   

(With inputs from agencies) 

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