Honey bees (genus Apis)are well known for the impressive suite of nest defenses they have evolved to protect their abundant stockpiles of food and the large colonies they sustain. In Asia, honey bees have evolved under tremendous predatory pressure from social wasps in the genus Vespa, the most formidable of which are the giant hornets that attack colonies in groups, kill adult defenders, and prey on brood. We document for the first time an extraordinary collective defense used by Apis cerana against the giant hornet Vespa soror. In response to attack by V.soror, A.cerana workers foraged for and applied spots of animal feces around their nest entrances. Fecal spotting increased after colonies were exposed either to naturally occurring attacks or to chemicals that scout hornets use to target colonies for mass attack.
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