London, July 5 (ANI): Honeybee hordes form "bee balls" to mob and smother their predators, giant hornets, killing them within 10 minutes of trapping, scientists have observed.
According to the journal Naturwissenschaften, honeybees use heat and carbon dioxide as part of their mechanism to guard themselves from their natural enemies.
"They can survive for 10 minutes at a temperature up to 47C, and the temperature inside the bee balls does not rise higher than 46C," the BBC quoted researcher Fumio Sakamoto, Kyoto Gakuen University in Japan, as saying.
Sakamoto, one of the authors of the study, added: "So we concluded that carbon dioxide produced inside the bee ball by the honeybees is a major factor, together with temperature, involved in the bees' defence."ut it was yet to be determined if the bees were "gassing" the hornets, or simply depriving them of oxygen.
He said: "Either way, the carbon dioxide increase and/or the oxygen decrease lowered the temperature that was lethal to the hornets.
"We are going to do the additional experiments about this point using mixed air of various oxygen and carbon dioxide (concentrations)." (ANI)