Bees Ward Off Predators by Doing the Wave

12-01-2008 // Hannah Schardt

THIS WAVE is no friendly hello. When threatened by predatory wasps, hundreds—even thousands—of southern Asia’s giant honeybees raise their abdomens in a coordinated effort that gives the effect of a large, shimmering wave, confusing the attackers. Researchers at Austria’s University of Graz recently documented that the defensive technique is very effective at repelling wasps: While they may still hunt free-flying bees, predators steer clear of the nest after being startled.

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