Defense Mechanisms: A Group Of Giant Honey Bees Do The Wave

January 15, 2019

This is a video of giant honey bees (Apis dorsata) performing the wave (aka shimmering). They're not rooting for the home team though -- it's a defense mechanism for when the colony feels threatened. Per Wikipedia while I add a little honey to my morning tea. "Is that really tea?" It's at least morning:

Another method that Apis dorsata utilizes against wasps is referred to as "shimmering" behavior or defense waving. Bees in the outer layer thrust their abdomens 90° in an upward direction and shake them in a synchronous way. This may be accompanied by stroking of the wings. The signal is transmitted to nearby workers that also adopt the posture, thus creating a visible -- and audible -- "ripple" effect across the face of the comb, in an almost identical manner to an audience wave at a crowded stadium. These wave-like patterns repel wasps that get too close to the nests of these bees and serve to confuse the wasp. In turn, the wasp cannot fixate on capturing one bee or getting food from the bees' nest, so the wasp will seek to find easier prey and leave this nest alone. Shimmering appears to be an evolutionary successful behavior for group living amongst social bees.

Fascinating, but still -- did you really need to agitate the bees for seven minutes straight? I feel like I was good after about twelve seconds. Those poor bees. Everyone they've ever known is dead or dying and entire species are going extinct, and we're out there harassing them for seven minutes at a time. Haven't the bees already been through enough? Now I'm not saying Mother Nature is gonna be pissed and seek revenge for this, but I give it a month before we discover ass spiders.

Keep going for the video, and yes, the hive does look like a pair of testicles at 4:40.

Thanks to Marcus O, who agrees the best defense is a good offense. Attaaaaaack!

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