Certain species of bees will emit humanlike shrieks via their tummies when threatened by swarms of predatory murder hornets.
Sorry to drop that on you so abruptly, but it’s really best to just rip the bandaid off with that kind of nightmare-inducing bit of trivia. According to a new research paper published earlier this month in the journal Royal Society Open Science and recapped last week over at The New York Times, Asian honeybees will “cock their abdomens into the air and run while vibrating their wings” when stressed or fearful, something that apparently sounds “eerily like a human scream.”
The researchers’ colleagues have also reportedly described the sound as resembling “crying,” because the image of a bee screaming and shrieking like a terrified human being wasn’t upsetting enough.
We haven’t yet found any of the actual audio recordings yet, and thank God for that, apparently. After listening to dozens of hours of bee screams, research paper co-author Dr. Heather Mattila explained that she “would get chills and start to worry about them, even though the recordings are from years ago and the bees are long dead... There is something very human and recognizable in the sounds.”
...Jesus Christ, Dr. Mattila.
Like both the source study and the NY Times recap, we really don’t have much else to add to this tidbit of existential terror. We honestly feel like there’s no need to put a tidy bow on the horror, either, since the NYT closed its own coverage with its best Werner Herzog impression:
It is now autumn in Vietnam, when giant hornets rear new queens and males and escalate their group raids on honeybee hives. The pandemic has kept Dr. Mattila and other researchers from returning there; but now she knows, somewhere across the world, the hives are alive with the sound of bee screams.
“The hives are alive with the sound of bee screams?” What in the absolute hell, NYT?
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