In the last article we wrote about Honeybees and how extremely crucial they are too
human and plant survival. Included in the article was a brief description of what an active
Honeybee hive consists of. For those who have not read the last article. Refer to……
Why Honeybees are so important and should not face extermination.
Offered is a recap, and short commentary explaining how an active, thriving Honeybee: hive
with 30.000 to 80,000 bees, survives and the responsibilities of the different bees within the hive.
1) There is only one Queen Bee in a hive. Responsibility; to lay up to 2000 eggs per day.
2) Worker bees are the most abundant in the hive. All are non-reproductive females. Duties, act
as nurses, builders, protectors, and nectar and pollen gatherers for the hive.
3) Drones are all males, less in numbers then workers. Only duty is to mate with the Queen Bee.
Note: Only Queen Bee and worker bees have stingers. Worker bees die after one sting. Queen
Bee can sting over an over without dying.
In the previous piece, we tried to make the public aware of how important it was to save
honeybees. Unfortunately, an unknown cause is decimating the honeybee population. Civilian
and Military Scientist are working feverishly to find the source, but unfortunately they have not
been successful. The good news is that they might be on to something. Lets all hope for the best.
Since the Honeybee was introduced to the United States from Europe, there are many
natural enemies of the honeybee, just to mention a few, parasites, mites, birds, frogs, wasps,
hornets, and bears, which love honey and destroy thousands of wild bee hives in wooded areas.
God knows that the honeybee does not need more enemies, especially man made or imported.
However, one enemy of the Honeybee does not reside in the United States. It resides in
Eastern Asia. Specifically in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Indochina. China. India.
It is the Asian giant hornet, or a subspecies known as THE JAPENESE GIANT HORNET!!!,
that has captured our interest. It is the largest and the most fearsome hornet in the world. It is approximately 2 inches in length, with a stinger approximately ¼ inch long. Its head and eyes are large and orange in color
with a banded brown and yellow abdomen. It uses its large mandibles, rather then its stinger to
crush its prey. The reason why there is interest in this hornet is that the Japanese have a native
honeybee, but that specie does not produce the volume of honey that European honeybees
do. Therefore, the Japanese have imported European honeybees. Unfortunately the European
honeybee has very little or no defense against the Japanese giant hornet.
The native specie of honeybees unlike the European kind, have over time developed an
effective defense to combat these giant hornets. When a solo giant hornet lands on its nest, the
native honeybee forms a large ball and engulfs the hornet, causing its temperature to rise and in
turn kill it, thus not allowing it to leave a scent for others giant hornets to follow.
The European honeybee has no such defense. When a single giant hornet ( or scout) finds
a European honeybee hive, it secretes a pheromone that attracts other hornets. Once the giant
hornets discover a nest, a large number of them attack the beehive.
In a matter of hours, 30 giant hornets can kill a honeybee hive of 30,000. Once a nest (or hive) is decimated, the giant hornets remove the honeybee larvae and dead bees and return to their hive to feed them to their young.
As we first stated in this article, the Japanese Giant Hornets resides in Eastern Asia’s
warm and humid tropical areas but just as so many non-native species of plants, insects, and
animals have found their way into the United States and unfortunately survived. We certainly do
not need another enemy of the European honeybee. Let us keep hoping that this monster insect
remains in Eastern Asia.
Bee Catchers will continue to save bees. If you have questions about bees and before
you think of exterminating a beehive, remember how important they are to your survival, please
Call Bee Catchers at 866-544-0074 or visit our web site at www.BeeCatchersSoCal.com