Honeybees are the life force that keeps the world going. Who would have thought they would ever learn how to use tools? While it might sound like something out of a storybook, it seems that honeybees are now using tools to fight hornets.
Dealing with the attacks
Believe it or not, but honeybees and hornets have a long feuding history that’s been filled with various attacks. Hornets can be pretty brutal as they injure any bee that stands in their way until they can get into the hive and devour all the bee’s larvae. However, bees have come up with their own retaliation that can be just as savage. They will often ball around hornets and use their body heat to burn the hornet until it loses its life. Sadly, neither party seemed to win – until now.
Spotting something strange
Several researchers have been tracking bees and studying information for many years to understand how they work and why they do the things they do. For many years, people have noticed strange black marks around the entrance to hives, but no one ever had an answer. It was thought they were nothing more than marks made by bees as they went in and out of the hive. That was until one entomologist, Heather Mattila, finally worked out what was going on. Honeybees are now using tools. This was a discovery that was about to prove how smart these bees really are.
An answer to the marks
It turns out the black marks that have been overlooked for years are actually a honeybee’s way of protecting the hive. The bees will pick up animal waste from a variety of animals, including cows and chickens, and wipe it around the entrance of their hive. Heather started to study the effect this had on attacks after figuring out what was really going on. The research showed that hornets were less likely to enter the hive if there was waste spread around the door. This meant the bees were safe from attack, and they didn’t have to ball up to fight off the wandering hornet.
Using their tools
So what makes using animal waste a tool? Apparently, that’s all thanks to the fact the honeybees are taking something and using it for something else. The line between what’s a tool and what’s not can be a little blurry, but many researchers argue that honeybees are most definitely using tools to fight off hornets. Whether people accept the waste as a tool or not, many have found it hard to deny that what the honeybees are doing is anything less than fascinating. The best part? It seems to be something that haves have only learned how to do in the last few years.
No one would have guessed that honeybees are now using tools to fight off hornets. However, research shows that’s just what they’re doing. These insects have shown the world they are a lot smarter than they look – and they’ll do anything to protect their hive.