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Baiting Japanese honeybees with a hornet-scented orchid plant

When you want to collect wild Japanese honeybees in spring, all you need is an orchid in bloom, an empty beehive, and some patience. This particular orchid is a Cymbidium floribundum, well-known for its ability to attract Japanese honeybees and their queen. The secret is in the flower’s chemical mix.

In this clip from Natural World: Buddha, Bees, and The Giant Hornet Queen, Japanese beekeeper Yamaguchi places an Asian giant hornet-scented orchid plant next to an empty hive, a gift that he hopes they will accept. Will the smell of the bees’ mortal enemy lure them to the new nest?

japanese beekeeping
Watch more from TKSST’s bee video collection, including:
How to harvest honey with Maddie Moate 
• How Do Bees Make Honey?
What’s the Waggle Dance? And Why Do Honeybees Do It?
Photographing the Real Life of Bees
A female blue orchard bee builds her ‘bee-jeweled’ nest

Bonus: More BBC videos.

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