'Murdersquishing' Them To Death: How Little Bees Take On Enormous Hornets

I know, I know. You have Putin to worry about, ISIS to worry about, the world's getting hotter; so why bring up Japanese giant hornets? This is no time to add to your worry list. But I can't help myself, because, as bad as they are — and they are very, very bad ...

... this story has a happy (better than happy, glorious!) ending.

Japanese giant hornets have large yellow heads, enormous eyes, and they eat bees. "Eat" is too polite. They grab European honey bees, rip off their heads, tear off limbs, throw those parts away and take the big juicy middle piece (the thorax) back to their kids (the larvae). They are unstoppable. A single hornet, you are about to learn, can kill 40 European honey bees a minute.

European bees, being new to Japan (brought in by cultivators), have evolved no defenses to protect themselves. They haven't had time. But there's a second group of bees — the locals, the Japanese honey bees — who have found a way. It's precise, orchestral, and deadly.

Matt Inman, who writes and draws a wonderful blog called The Oatmeal, bumped into these hornets — literally — while running through a forest in Japan. Being curious, he read up on them, and in his new book, The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances, he describes how a crowd of little Japanese bees gets revenge using what Matt happily calls a "Steamy Hot Murdersquish":

It is. Very neat.

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