Researchers have found that honeybees in Vietnam collect and smear animal feces around their nests to prevent deadly raids by giant hornets.
They say the finding is the first to document the use of “tools” by honeybees.
The bees used chicken poo, buffalo dung and even human urine to defend their hives.
Honeybees, in decline worldwide, play a critical role in pollinating the plants humans depend on for their diet.
The scientists behind the study, published in the journal PLOSE ONE, said the research was sparked when a Vietnamese beekeeper told them the mysterious dark spots they had spotted at hive entrances was excrement.
Lead author Heather Mattila said, “We thought that’d be crazy because bees don’t collect dung.”
Bees are known for using a range of strategies to deflect attacks from predators. They have been observed physically shielding their colonies through synchronized body shakes, hissing, or enveloping encroachers in a ball until they overheat.