Aerial wasp attack on flying honey bee
I have watched many wasps killing prey, whether they were flies, caterpillars or honeybees. However they have all been caught when the prey item was stationary on a flower or other stationary platform. This was my first encounter with the wasp actually catching the honeybee whilst both were in flight. The wasp crash landed with the honeybee firmly in its jaws on my jacket, which I was carrying.
I’m not sure when the honeybee was decapitated it was probably when they were both on my jacket. That is what I have watched wasps do first of all. You can clearly see one severed leg of the honeybee blowing away whilst being dismembered on my jacket.
The wasps in the past, decapitate, chew off both wings, severe the thorax from the abdomen then fly off with one of these body parts, presumably as they are easier to manage in smaller parts. There must have been some urgency with this wasp as it tried to chew the bees body up, but in the end, left most legs, wings and whole body in one complete piece, flying off with it by gripping the thorax where the head had been. It did not take long at all as you will see in the video. Decapitation would I presume be the wasps first killing action. The bee can still sting as it can still control its body parts. Loose your head and you loose your sting!
Catch your familiy’s meal mid air whilst both in flight, then decapitate it and take it home! A wasp killing a honeybee. No contest.
Learn more about social wasps with various downloads, video of shed chewing wasp and more
Even honey bees at their hives are not safe from social wasps where again the wasp decapitates a honeybee
Download BWARS Social Wasps info PDF by Tom Ings here
Download National Bee Unit PDF Honeybee Colonies and Wasps