A stunning video has captured what happens when Asian giant hornets pick a fight with smaller Japanese yellow hornets – with gruesome consequences.
In this clip from BBC Earth, the two species go head-to-head until one side is completely wiped out.
There are 15,000 of the smaller yellow hornets – making them outnumber the enemy five-to-one – with numbers and teamwork their sole advantage over the giants.
But Asian giant hornets have previously been caught on video decapitating 30,000 honey bees without any issues.
Just one of these stinging beasts can kill 300 bees in an hour, so the odds don’t look good for their miniature foes.
Footage shows the giant hornets land at the nest of the yellow hornets and immediately launch into battle mode, cutting up their enemy with their powerful jaws.
The yellow hornets then move as one and pile on top of their enemies, practically immobilising them.
More giant hornets are then filmed arriving at the fight, but these reinforcements may not be enough.
Soon, the bodies of Asian giant hornets are piling up on the ground below the Japanese yellow hornet hive and the narrator explains what is happening.
“The yellows dispatch giant after giant with a lethal sting to the back of the neck.,” she says.
“It is the only chink in the giant hornet’s armour.”
Sadly for the giants, this fatal flaw is their doom and the battle only stops when every last one is dead.
The video was originally featured in BBC’s Natural World: Buddha Bees and The Giant Hornet Queen but has since gone viral on YouTube after being uploaded by the BBC Earth channel.
Stunned viewers said the battle was intense.
One person commented: “It’s like a big gladiatorial epic battle.”
“The bees are quietly watching from the sidelines hoping that they both lose,” joked another.
Someone who is clearly not the biggest fan of hornets remarked: “I would have waited until the battle was near its apex and then torched the entire nest.”
Another wrote: “The Giant Hornets were dropping like flies in the first battle, I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
Japanese yellow hornets are not the only insect to have triumphed over the Asian giant hornet – Japanese bees were caught on video cooking one alive when it invaded their nest.