Ants Annoy Hornets Trying to Drink Water
Occurred on July 22, 2022 / Dohr, Rhineland-Palatinate, 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 and wasps at all. I could also observe that ants at the feeding site constantly harass and bite hornets. The hornets do not find this funny at all. Sometimes the ants bite so hard on the hornets' legs that they are pulled up into the air and fall to the ground again. This can be seen well here in slow motion.
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.