- Not Exactly Rocket Science
The bees that mummify beetles alive
In Australia, the penalty for burglary is several years in prison. But that’s for humans. For the small hive beetle, breaking and entering into the hive of stingless bees carries a far harsher sentence – being mummified alive in a sticky tomb of wax, mud and resin.
Small hive beetles are notorious pests. They invade the hives of bees, eat their stored food, and kill their young. In Africa, where the beetles come from, honeybees know how to deal with these pests – they wait until the beetles are in a confined space, and then imprison them within tombs of resin. But the beetle has invaded other continents, where bees are less adept at getting rid of them. In North