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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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  • Re:shotguns! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:55AM (#45025123)

    Common shot used for actual birds would be too big (eg, #4).

    I would actually consider using small sized shot used for clays, like #7.5 or even #9. You get very short range but a TON of pellets.

    You could even consider developing a 3" magnum load with this shot for even larger shot strings.

  • Nature Bee Scary (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zarjazz ( 36278 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @11:13AM (#45025329)

    30 Giant Hornets v 30,000 Bees []

  • The Oatmeal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kinthelt ( 96845 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @11:18AM (#45025385) Homepage

    Sounds like the same kind of hornets that Matt Inman ran into. []

  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @11:33AM (#45025539)

    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.

    Only five times? As someone that just got back from Beijing, I'm surprised I wasn't killed in a traffic accident. Crossing the street is taking your life in your own hands and a taxi cab will turn any atheist into a devout believer.

    There's that old saying about there are no atheists in fox holes... well, hop in a Beijing cab and you too will pray for a safe passage. And yes these are the official taxis not the unlicensed ones.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 03, 2013 @11:52AM (#45025735)

    Posting this as anon, because its been so long I forget the details for my 6 digit uin.

    We have asian hornets already, last summer they nested in a tree in my garden. The local firebrigade have an obligation to come and and kill the nest if you contact them as they are a invasive species with special requirements.
    I called the pompiers, and they came out, but they had no means of reaching the height of the nest that they could get access to (200ft up in my boggy garden), so they went away with talk of poisen delivered by specialist lifting contractors at thousands of euro in costs to me.
    That night, the nest mysteriously exploded and fell from its high branch, and I called them back out to deal with the nest on the floor and they came out in suits and applied poisen and took the nest away and some of the hornets and lavae for the local school to do a feature on the species.
    Yes they are as big as they say, and they sound like a small drone when flying and it hurt lots when I got stung. And they take some killing, but generally one or two wont do more than annoy you at your bbq. As a species they like to nest as high as possible, so most of the time disturbing the nest means felling a tree or doing similar, its not easy to come in to close contact with the nest.
    Probably the biggest indicator is the sudden absence of yellowjackets and bee's in the area. In fact we had a waspinator decoy nest to keep yellojackets down at the bbq area and it seemed to attract the asians looking for a nest to pillage for food.

    Where they are a real danger is in a urban environment as they like to live in sewers and other areas that they will come into close contact with humans. Im lucky in that this is very rural so we weren't forced into close quarters with them in this way.

    They are plotting a line across france as they advance, killing bee hives and causing destruction in their path, within a year or two they will be in the uk, and its only a matter of time they get everywhere.

    So summary, theyre a pain in the ass, but its nto the end of the world and specialists are already equipped to eradicate a nest when discovered, you just dont have to be stupid and pour a can of gas over it or something while theyre awake.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 03, 2013 @11:54AM (#45025763)

    Here is an interesting biology fact: The chemical that give banana's the majority of their taste, Isoamyl acetate, is the same chemical bees use to alert each other to danger. That is why bees hate bananas and make simple chemistry fun. It also makes bee traps much more effective if put by the entrance.

  • by NatasRevol ( 731260 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @12:17PM (#45026009) Journal

    Read some of the comment stories from gawkers post yesterday, being chased by wasps, jumping in a pool, having to rip them off you underwater, seeing the swarm above, waiting for you to breathe. []

  • Re:The best defense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @01:01PM (#45026569)
    You're right. I actually use a vacuum cleaner to kill wasps and bees in my room. The best part is you can approach them with the tube casually. If you use a fly swatter and miss, they get pissed real quick. Also a fly swatter needs to have them on a solid object to hurt them because wasps have a bit more structural integrity than a fly. So yes vacuum cleaners are good for indoor wasp/bee killing.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter