Tokyo conservationists are using honeybees to fend off crows attacking vulnerable seabirds nesting near the international airport. The nonprofit Little Tern Project has installed hives of honeybees on the roof of the watertower where several thousand of the seabirds nest during migration. The bees came from the Ginza Bee Project, another nonprofit that teaches people about agriculture and beekeeping. From National Geographic:
"We spoke to an expert and learned that honeybees in the wild have the natural response of attacking a black object that comes near to their hive," (Ginza Bee Project chair Kazuo) Takayasu said.Bees Enlisted to Attack Crows in Tokyo (National Geographic)
"There have been tests with black and white balloons, and the bees always attack the black balloon."
It is believed that the bees' reaction is linked to the color of bears' fur. The insects apparently attack dark-colored creatures to protect their hives from plunder.
"We noticed that the bees swarmed around crows that were taking offerings from white plates left on the outdoor altar of a shrine in Ginza," Takayasu added.
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.