Hornets Hurl Ants
Occurred on July 20, 2022 / Dohr, Germany
Info from Licensor: "During the summer months of the last few years I have been intensively involved in observing, photographing and filming eusocial wasps.
Many of these photographs and videos, including this one, were taken in our garden in Dohr (located in the Eifel region) in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany,
As a nature photographer and nature filmmaker, these insects are very productive study subjects and performers for me. I spent numerous hours observing and analyzing their behavior until they became accustomed to me (and I to them), and then I succeeded in taking extraordinary photographs and videos over time. I was able to film their acrobatic flight maneuvers as well as the prey flights of hornets hunting and catching wasps and bees. These fascinating insects became more and more familiar to me, meanwhile I can often anticipate their behavior and thus arrange spectacular sequences and capture them in the picture.
Some of these videos went viral on my YouTube channel, and so in 2021 I also came to the attention of an English film production company, who then booked our garden for 2 weeks as a film set for a high-tech production for a worldwide insect film and hired me as a consultant. Unfortunately, the covid pandemic then made this production impossible due to travel bans.
Through specific support measures, such as a near-natural garden with many food sources and hiding places, but also the installation of artificial caves as nest sites, I was able to promote the settlement of social wrinkled wasps and so in this summer 2022 4 hornet colonies and 2 wasp nests are resident here and the animals are constantly present and available for filming.
For many shots I have to lure the animals to a specific spot where cameras and light sources are already positioned and where spectacular behaviors can then be captured. Patience, luck and the right technical realization are of course always part of it.
At a feeding place I could observe now that also ants are very interested in this tasty liquid. This in turn did not suit the hornets at all.
I could observe how the hornets grab ants and hurl them into the air. I could see how they really get into a rage and wildly bite and kick around. Also with the legs ants are hurled through the area.
I really wanted to film this and I experimented for a long time until I got these extraordinary shots. Only in slow motion, here maximum slowed down playback with a maximum of 250 fps, can we really grasp these very fast processes.
Can insects get angry? If you look at this video, the thought is very obvious.
Viewed at normal speed, humans are hardly able to grasp what is actually happening. The slow motion footage, on the other hand, presents fascinating details: when the food source of hornets is besieged by ants, they don't seem to enjoy it at all. Some of these giants virtually fly into a rage at the sight of the dwarfs, which are tiny in comparison. Obviously, the ants are extremely annoying to them; one hornet even rolls over with blind rage when it is pushed.
Is that humanized now? Do we tend to interpret too much into such recordings?"