View Full Version : Japanese Giant Hornets

02-03-2006, 09:53 AM
I caught a really interesting show on TV (National Geographic Channel maybe) about these giant hornets in Japan. They showed the danger that these hornets could be to European bees... One hornet finds the bee colony and marks it, then 30 hornets return to the colony and can wipe out a bee colony of 30,000!!! Now that's some devestation! What was really cool though was the Japanese bees' defense against the hornets. When the scout hornet arrives at the hive, they lure him inside, then all at once, the bees swarm the scout hornet. They begin vibrating their bodies and raise their body temperatures to 117 degrees. What's amazing is that the bees will begin to die at 118 degrees, but the hornet will fry at 115 degrees. So the bees roast the hornet to death before he can return to the hornet colony to report the location of the bee hive. It was a pretty cool program. :)

02-03-2006, 10:38 AM
Hey- I saw that too, but I've seen it before and will likely watch it again when it reruns. Those are some *monster* sized hornets. Thank God we don't have them here in the US! Did you see how fast they'd grab and decapitate the honey bees?

02-03-2006, 11:19 AM
I guess you could call it a 'honey trap'....

Vicky - grinning, ducking and running

02-03-2006, 02:00 PM
I guess you could call it a 'honey trap'....

Vicky - grinning, ducking and running

Peanuts... Peanuts to you. ;D


02-03-2006, 03:32 PM
This may explain the expense of Japanese honey. Everything in Japan is more expensive than here, but I was shocked by the honey. Last trip, I picked up the following:

Lotus Grass Honey 500 grams (1.1 lb) 1575 yen ($15)
Acacia Honey 500 grams 1470 yen ($14)
Clover Honey 500 grams 1050 yen ($10)

It is expensive. Perhaps the cost of keeping the hornets away makes it more expensive to produce honey. I do not think we will be seeing large quantities of Japanese Mead at these prices.

On the other hand, I picked up 5 lbs. of Coffee flower honey in Mexico for only $6.


02-03-2006, 11:01 PM
While I have never been to Japan, I have heard from long-term visitors that everything is just plain more expensive there(combination of living on an island with lots of people and not much space). Especially commodities like land and food. I wonder if there is this is a problem of the same size magnitude as the varoa mites are here. I did a little looking on the web, but only found things in Japanese, which sadly, I still can't read..
I haven't caught the show, since no tv, but it sounds pretty interesting.
And does it strike anyone else as odd that 30 hornets could take out 30,000 bees?? Technically speaking, 30,000 bees, assuming most of them were standard worker bees(no drones or no queens which are usually stingerless), should be able to take down darn near anything short of a herd of wildabeasts, muchless 30 hornets. I realize that standard US/European hornets and wasps can get pretty nasty by both biting and stinging at will untill they decide to stop, or are killed by the sting-ee, since they have smooth stingers. But wouldn't you think that the bees would overwhelm the hornets and sting them or bite them to death?? I have seen first hand regular honey bees do that to bald-faced hornets.
just wondering...

02-03-2006, 11:30 PM
Are these the same hornets that can actually shoot toxin from their stingers? I saw one show that mentioned Japanese hornets, (I think it was that, "Most Extreme" on Animal Planet), and the hornets could shoot poison up to 9 feet into animals' eyes and such.

02-04-2006, 10:41 AM
The program did indicate that a few of the hornets died due to stings but the vast majority survived to rob the honey and larvae. The hornets didn't kill the bees by stinging, they were literal killing machines, severing bees with their mandibles by the tens of thousands. Here's a link to an exceptional video clip of the program. Wait for the 5-10 second commercial to end before the video clip loads. This 3-5 minute clip is the heart of the entire program:


Oddly enough, the Japanese have developed a sports drink derived from the giant hornets that allegedly boosts human endurance and stamina:


02-06-2006, 11:17 AM
Thanks for that link Summersolstice! Watching it again, I'm still amazed. :)

02-06-2006, 07:53 PM
The way the bees ball up and generate heat is the same behavior that they use to make it thru the winter. The bees cluster in the hive and shiver to generate heat so they don't freeze. As the winter progresses the cluster moves around the honey comb consuming the honey. I remember seeing that show on the giant hornets a few years ago, I think that it only takes the sting of one or two of them to kill a human. Bee stings on the other hand take around 10 stings per pound of bodyweight to kill a person. I've seen whitefaced hornets raid one of my hives, must of killed two or three hundred bees in a hour. I've also seen hornets knock down and chew pieces out of dragon flies. Those giant ones in Japan demand respect.

02-14-2006, 10:21 PM
huge :o Im not a fan of flying killing machine insects.