Hawking Hornets in Action

Whilst conducting research into Vespa velutina (Asian Hornet) in Italy, Arnia founders Huw and Sandra Evans captured some amazing video and photographs hornets hawking at bee hives.

The Asian Hornet is a voracious predator of honey bees.  The hornets will hover at the hive entrance (behaviour often described as ‘hawking’) and try to capture foragers returning to the hive that are weighed down with nectar and pollen.

The two amazing videos below show slow motion action of Asian Hornets capturing bees in mid flight before carrying them away. The Asian Hornet’s legs have lots of little claw like hooks, which it spreads like a spider’s web to catch the bee.

Once captured, the hornet carries the bee to a spot close by, such as a tree. It will then dismember the bee to take what it needs (protein) but also to make it lighter and easier for transport back to the nest. It removes the head and abdomen (ocassionally feeding on the contents of abdomen),  It also removes the legs and wings, making the body into pulp before taking the protein rich thorax meal back to the nest.

Asian Hornet dismembering a honey bee

Asian Hornet dismembering a honey bee

Arnia has successfully isolated the acoustic signature of the Asian Hornet and can distinguish it from honey bee acoustics and other background noises. This will enable the development of a monitor that will remotely detect, alert and locate an Asian Hornet attack on a bee hive.

For more information contact us now.