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Honeybees Aren’t Always So Sweet January 3, 2008

Posted by Mrs Weird Scientist in Animals, Easy As Pie, Insects.
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Credit: Papachristoforou et al. for New Scientist.

I have an interesting and sometimes rocky relationship with the buzzing creatures we call bees and wasps. Like some people, I retreat when I see the odd bee nearby – even as I take care to avoid being stung.

At one point in time, I even developed an intense fear of wasps. What triggered my fear? I lived in a top floor flat in Scotland for a year. During this time, a wasp’s nest emerged, which was likely somewhere near the building. Despite calls to my landlord – who had workers searching for the elusive nest – nobody could find the exact location of these persistent insects. For weeks, I (along with my similarly frustrated neighbors) had wasps coming in from every nook and cranny around the windows and vents. I remember sitting at my laptop, attempting to type up a laboratory experiment while wasps perched on my curtains, flew around my lights and generally had me grumbling at the presence of these new, unwanted flatmates. A visit from a local handyman resulted in duct tape all around any openings in the flat, which ultimately sealed me in the flat and kept the wasps out!

Fortunately, enough time has now passed that I am more fascinated than fearful of these little creatures. I saw this video recently and wanted to share it here on the weird science blog. In this video, loads of Cyprian honeybees swarm around a hornet to suffocate their enemy. Trust me – when I say swarm, I mean it!

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