Giant hornets are a threat to Asian honeybees. The hornets scout for bee nests, chew through them, and feed on the poor bees. To stop the hornets from doing this horrible thing, the bees smear animal poop around the entrance of their nest.
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It’s still not clear how this dung actually protects the colony, but in the field, it appears to stop scouting hornets…
This is the first ever documentation of bees using tools in a natural setting.
Scientists have known for several years that honeybees can learn how to use tools in the lab, but such skills have never been observed in a natural setting with non-plant matter.
Traditionally, the definition of a tool requires an object to be found externally, before being altered in some way to give it purpose. Wielding this newly arranged material, the animal must then orient the object to make it most effective.
‘Faecal spotting’, or the smearing of dung on nests, ticks all four of these boxes and is the first clear cut example of bees using a tool in nature.
Learn more about this over at ScienceAlert.
(Image Credit: Rushenb/ Wikimedia Commons)