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China Earth Science

Asian Giant Hornets Kill 42 People In China, Injure Over 1,500 274

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Madison Park and Dayu Zhang report on CNN that swarms of aggressive hornets are inflicting a deadly toll in a central China killing 42 people and injuring 1,675 people in three cities in Shaanxi province since July. Government authorities say these attacks are from a particularly venomous species, the world's largest hornet, known as the Asian giant hornet or vespa mandarinia. The giant hornet extends about 3.5 to 3.9 centimeters in length, roughly the size of a human thumb and has an orange head with a black tooth used for burrowing. The Asian giant hornet is intensely predatory; it hunts medium- to large-sized insects, such as bees, other hornet species, and mantises. The pain of the Asian Giant Hornet is described as a hot nail piercing the skin and lasts about 4 hours with instant swelling. One victim told local media earlier this month that "the more you run, the more they want to chase you." Some victims described being chased about 200 meters (656 feet) by a swarm. Local authorities have deployed thousands of police officers and locals to destroy about 710 hives but ""It's very difficult to prevent the attacks because hornet nests are usually in hidden sites," says Shunichi Makino, director general of the Hokkaido Research Center for Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute. Makino, who specializes in entomology, warned that the sting from an Asian giant hornet was severe compared with those of other insects. "The venom of an Asian giant hornet is very special compared with other hornets or yellow jackets," says Makino. "The neurotoxin — especially to mammals including humans — it's a special brand of venom." Asian Giant Hornets have been spotted in the United States."
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Asian Giant Hornets Kill 42 People In China, Injure Over 1,500

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  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:20AM (#45024669)
    Nah, those were exterminated in the 6th century using holy hand grenades.
  • by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:24AM (#45024727)

    Be afraid... [] ... be very afraid.

  • Obligatory (Score:3, Informative)

    by dreamstateseven ( 2742929 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:25AM (#45024747)
    I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.
  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:34AM (#45024847)
    Before you get worried, keep in mind there's little danger here even if you are in China. There have been 1500 injuries, but keep in mind this is a country of 1.3 billion people. That's 0.0011% of the population. 5.1 people per 100,000 in china die from traffic related accidents, which comes to 0.0051%.

    You are five times more likely to be killed by a car than you are to get STUNG by one of these things, assuming you are in China.

    Don't panic. Unless my numbers are off, which is entirely possible... wait, carry the seven...
  • by mjr167 ( 2477430 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:39AM (#45024907)
    Bees. Hornets can keep stinging you until they get bored.
  • by Xphile101361 ( 1017774 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:41AM (#45024947)
    That is bees.... hornets get to sting you over and over and over again.
  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:52AM (#45025079) Homepage Journal

    Bonus points if they're an aphrodisiac.

    Ask, and ye shall receive.. kinda.

    From Wikipedia:

    Recently, several companies in Asia and Europe have begun to manufacture dietary supplements and energy drinks which contain synthetic versions of secretions of the larvae of Vespa mandarinia... The manufacturers of these products make claims that consuming the larval hornet secretions (marketed as "hornet juice") will enhance human endurance because of the effect it has on adult hornets' performance

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:55AM (#45025115)
    This link [] is a little more informative/interesting than the Wikipedia article. In particular, the Vespa mandarinia venom is actually less toxic than honeybee (Apis mellifera) venom, it's just that the wasps deliver lots more venom than honeybees do.
  • by TCPhotography ( 1245814 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @11:06AM (#45025259)

    I'd mark you funny, but only the E, F, & G* versions of the F/A-18 are the Super Hornets. the A-D version are just the Hornet.
    *The EF-18G is the Electronic Warfare version of the Super Hornet, but it can carry anti-radiation missiles** so it can kill people.
    ** Missiles that target radiating sources such as Radars.

  • Relevant video (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 03, 2013 @11:41AM (#45025609)

    Go to youtube and watch "30 hornets vs 30000 bees".

    These things don't mess around! By the way, there is a defense...*japanese* honeybees (not the more common *european* honeybees) have a really awesome way of taking down these guys. Basically, a few dozen bees swarm the hornet and flap their little bee-wings like mad. This increases the temperature to around 118 degrees fahrenheit. This is hot enough to kill the hornet, but still a few degrees shy of what will kill the bees. Its awesome to watch, there are a few youtube videos of this as well.

  • by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @11:53AM (#45025745)

    Only five times? As someone that just got back from Beijing, I'm surprised I wasn't killed in a traffic accident.

    Just wait until you go to Thailand or Vietnam. In Vietnam I saw five road accidents -- two of which would probably be called "serious" in British terms -- and the immediate aftermath of one fatal accident in three weeks.

    (And, I was told while there, just wait until you visit India.)

  • by Njovich ( 553857 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @11:57AM (#45025795)

    This is not about all of China, it's about (part of) Shaanxi province. 37 million people live in this province, and it's about the past 3 months. Chances are still pretty slim that you will die of this of course.

  • by ortholattice ( 175065 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @12:02PM (#45025859)

    Last summer I had a huge colony of yellow jackets living in my wall. Maybe not as exciting as killer hornets, but still terrifying to me at the time.

    The first sign was coming home to find dozens of yellow jackets in my basement, which congregated around the light after I turned it on. I caught most of them with a butterfly net. Next day, same thing. Two days later, they worked their way up to my bedroom, apparently having eaten through the radiator pipe seal. I focused on my bedroom, catching maybe a dozen per day and increasing. They flew out of my printer when I printed a page. Flying insect killer would only kill the ones I hit directly. I started to feel like I was living in the kind of nightmare you see in movies.

    I found their entrance hole in the wall outside the house, with hundreds coming in and out. I tried spraying hornet/wasp killer deep into the hole, but no luck. I was warned against sealing the hole, since they would escape into the house, chewing their way through the wall if necessary.

    Being a cheapskate, I didn't want to an exterminator to rip open the wall, with repairs to the wall that might have cost thousands, as was suggested. Instead, I ran a shop vac hose next to the opening, sucking up any wasp that tried to enter or leave the hole. After 24 hours, the shop vac was 1/3 full of solid wasp mass, maybe 10000 of them as a guesstimate. I left it running for a week, each day finding fewer. Then I ran it during the day every couple of days, finding less each time.

    After a month or so, a batch of new queens and drones came out among the workers, and eventually nothing. There might have been 50K, maybe even 100K total. It was interesting how the queens were very robust and hard to kill compared to the smaller workers.

    Close to wintertime, when I was pretty sure they were all gone, I sealed the hole with putty. I read they don't often return to the same nest, and luckily there was no sign of them this year.

    Amazingly, I wasn't stung even once throughout all of this, although I was very careful, donning a raincoat, gloves, and a butterfly net over my head in the beginning. On the other hand, my GF was stung a couple of times on her face at her house, causing lots of pain and swelling, just by casually walking next to a bush where they had a nest in the ground.

  • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @12:56PM (#45026487)

    I run into a few yellow jacket ground nests every year in my yard. Those little bastards hurt like hell when they get you. I tried the usual insect spray, I think they used to rub it all over their bodies as a sort of fragrant body lotion. It would kills the ones I hit least it seemed that way...maybe they were only play acting. My neighbor was encouraging me to pour a cup of gasoline down the holes and then light it but I didn't want to poison the ground.

    So, I picked up a few cans of insulating foam...waited until they weren't buzzing and then foamed their entrance holes by sticking the straw in as far as it could go and pulling the trigger. That seemed to do the trick. They ones left outside buzzed around for several days not knowing quite what to make of it all. There was only one hole out of 5 where they managed to tunnel either in or out again but I got that one too and that was the end of that. I don't know, maybe I just had stupid yellow jackets, but I'll try it again next year.

    Now I just have to pull off the yellow mushroom tops the foaming goo made when it dried. They made handy markers so I could keep clear while the orphaned ones buzzed for a few days.

  • by plover ( 150551 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @01:44PM (#45027157) Homepage Journal

    They weren't kidding. During the three weeks I spent in India, our car was bumped into or struck on three separate occasions! (I haven't been involved in that many accidents in 35 years on American streets.) And that was just a few trips a day, nothing long-term spent in the vehicle. We had a corporate driver, who was among the best at navigating Indian roads - company policy forbids us American travelers from driving ourselves, or even from taking an auto-rickshaw ride.

    I think the scariest part, though, was the advice from the travel company: "If you are involved in a traffic accident that results in serious injury to a child, death of a pedestrian, or causes the death of a cow (yes, they do roam the streets), quietly escape from the scene. It is possible that an outraged mob will form, and they have been known to light the offending car on fire, with the passengers still in it. Find an alternate way to your hotel and then report the incident to the police."

    Holy shit -- flee the scene of an accident before you get torched!?!

    Still, it was a great place to visit, and I'd go back at the drop of a hat. Nice, nice people, interesting places, beauty and poverty, it's amazing.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger