Photos from inside a tree reveal intimate lives of wild honeybees

Unprecedented images show how the insects cook invaders alive, stay warm or cool, and socialize.

With tubular tongues, western honeybees in Langen, Germany, slurp up water to carry back to their nest, where it will be used for climate control.

Almost as soon as the honeybee colony was installed, it came under attack.

Not from varroa mites, pesticides, colony collapse disorder, or any of the many other perils now facing honeybee populations across the world, but from hornets—each one a red-eyed giant next to the hairy little bees. Each strike took just an instant, the predators snatching bees out of the air and then flying away with their victims, which would be carved up later and fed to the hornets’ own ravenous larvae.

One-on-one, a western honeybee is no match for a European hornet. Up to an inch and a half long, the hornet is equipped with powerful mandibles capable of shearing smaller insects to pieces.

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