Giant hornets have a taste for honeybee larvae and pupae, which they feed to their own young. Once a hornet scout locates a honeybee nest it releases a potent pheromone to signal the location to other hornets. Upon their arrival, as few as 30 giant hornets can wipe out an entire bee colony a thousand times larger.
The hornets are four to five times the size of the honeybees and, with every minute that passes, one hornet will massacre at least five bees. Strong tarsal claws and powerful mandibles mean the invaders are capable of ripping bee heads from bodies and simply casting them aside.
The bees do everything they can to protect their hive – attempting to sting through the hornets’ impenetrable armour – but within three hours the colony is wiped out. The hornets now have access to enough honey to gorge themselves, and all the bee larvae and pupae to take back to their offspring.