‘We Can See You’ Display Deters Bee-Botherers
Apis cerana bees are quite capable of overcoming predatory hornets if they have adequate time to prepare. The bees will encase a hornet in a ball of hundreds of their own bodies, killing it with heat and suffocation (as shown in the video below).
To avoid actually having to go to this trouble, the bees have also perfected a massed warning display, report Benjamin Oldroyd, who studies behavioural genetics and social behaviour at the University of Sydney, and his colleagues. Guard bees at A. cerana hives will simultaneously vibrate their abdomens when a predator approaches, producing both a visual signal and a loud noise.
This, says the team, is the first example of an insect ‘I See You’ (ISY) display. These signals tell the predator not to bother attacking, saving the prey from having to defend against the attack and the predator from wasting its energy on a futile — and possibly dangerous — attempt.