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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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:15AM (#45024605)
    What's next? Carnivorous rabbits?
  • by MetalliQaZ ( 539913 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:18AM (#45024645)

    I will openly admit, if I was attacked by those giant death machines I would move to another continent. Ain't nobody got time for that!

  • by allsorts46 ( 1725046 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:20AM (#45024675) Homepage

    First time I read this headline, I missed that 'hornets' was plural and imagined a single, huge hornet on a murdering rampage across China.

  • by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:24AM (#45024727)

    Be afraid...

    http://imgur.com/TTrA9KS [imgur.com] ... be very afraid.

  • by stewsters ( 1406737 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:24AM (#45024733)
    Badgers eat hornets. We will ship you a box of angry badgers for to expose to giantism causing Fukashima radiation. If I have learned anything from my childhood, its that the solution to giant monsters is more giant monsters.
  • that's got to sting.

  • Obligatory (Score:3, Informative)

    by dreamstateseven ( 2742929 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:25AM (#45024747)
    I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.
  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:29AM (#45024791)

    I'll bet the FA18D and E Super Hornets have killed more than that in Iraq and Afghanistan

  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:29AM (#45024795)
    China is being overrun by killer giant hornets, and the only thing that can stop them is a government created sharknado. The sharknado then starts eating people after they eat all the hornets.
  • 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 geekoid ( 135745 )

      Yes yes, you take enough area outside the area it becomes small. If you look at all the deaths that have every been, car accidents would be a tiny percentage. That doesn't mean you should take proper precautions when in a car.

    • 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 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 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.

    • 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.

  • 4 cm across? I say use birdshot on the swarms. Just watch your backdrop.

    • 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.

      • I would say go even finer than those dove loads go down to a rat/snake shot [wikipedia.org]. Their maximum effective range is about 3-5 meters but even in a 2 3/4 20 gauge shell there would be a lot of projectiles. Another option might just be to use table salt.
    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:57AM (#45025135)

      I'm afraid that would be like punching holes through clouds. I would bait them with poisoned prey, which they would haul back to their difficult to find nests. Some kind of slow poison, so it makes it back to the nest. Then it would slowly kill the rest of the brood.

      How about using radioactive waste . . . ? Or might that have some other unforeseen consequences . . . ?

  • by snsh ( 968808 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:36AM (#45024867)

    To protect against hornets, carry around a vacuum cleaner. Nothing can live inside a vacuum.

  • Another reporter slept through science class and failed to remember the concept of significant digits.

    Clearly a witness who claimed to have run 200 meters was estimating, so there's at best one significant digit. It would have been much better to use "(over 600 feet)" as the conversion. Or why not go with "(656 feet, 2 and 1/64 inches)?"

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:41AM (#45024943)

    Some victims described being chased about 200 meters (656 feet) by a swarm.

    I do admire the Chinese.Just think - being chased by a deadly hornet and still measuring the distance run with such accuracy.

    • That's because metric is so much easier than imperial units.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      You can't tell when you have run 200 meters?
      If it's downtown, I can tell yo how far I have run to within 1%. Better then that if I can look at my cell phone

  • Jesus Christ, that's horror movie territory!
  • i bet these hornets are more of a worry in canada than in the united states.

    no matter where they hide in the united states, unless it's death valley, people are going to run into them and report the fact that bugs the size of their head have been spotted.

    if these go into canada and can survive there, they can easily find plenty of space to reproduce for many generations unnoticed and undisturbed. by the time they're encountered they'll be numerous.

    i imagine they will move into the giant beaver dam that's up

    • I don't think you're really familiar with the United States. Sure, we have a significantly denser population than Canada, but the US still has extremely vast areas of few or no people. There's still places you can travel hundreds of miles without seeing any sign of civilization. And not just the deserts of the Southwest... every region of the country has at least a few large tracts of land that humans have barely wandered through in all of history, nevermind living memory.

  • Nature Bee Scary (Score:3, Interesting)

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

    30 Giant Hornets v 30,000 Bees

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ1eAM8CChc [youtube.com]

  • 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. http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running5 [theoatmeal.com]

  • by DiscountBorg(TM) ( 1262102 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @11:26AM (#45025445)

    All I can think of is the size of exoskeleton life that used to exist on this planet (some of which when the oxygen levels were higher).

    http://listverse.com/2013/01/14/10-prehistoric-bugs-that-could-seriously-mess-you-up/ [listverse.com]

  • Reports indicate the Asian Giant Hornet was briefly spotted in Australia. Upon arriving the colony looked around, said "Fuck me...", and promptly returned to Asia.

  • 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 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 mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @11:52AM (#45025739)

    Leela: "What's the mission?"
    Farnsworth: "Collecting honey. Ordinary honey."
    Leela: "That doesn't sound so dangerous."
    Farnsworth: "This is no ordinary honey! It's produced by vicious space bees. A single sting of their hideous neurotoxin can cause instant death!"
    Hermes: "And that's if you're not allergic! You don't wanna know what happens then, oh no no, God no."
    Farnsworth: "Your insides with boil out of your eye sockets like a science fair volcano!"
    Hermes: "I didn't want to know!" *cries*

  • 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 directly...at 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.

  • Asian Giant Hornets have been spotted in the United States.

    No, that's okay. I don't need to sleep... ever again.

  • Did anyone else have an immediate image of choosing between a machine gun (ineffective) and a flame thrower (effective) on reading the summary?

  • Who manufactures tennis rackets, WD-40 and lighters over there?
  • by kaatochacha ( 651922 ) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @04:17PM (#45029327)

    When I lived in Japan, I had the misfortune of being stung by one of these damn things.
    My upstairs neighbor, a vegan pacifist, noticed the nest but loudly forbid anyone from damaging it.
    I was moving in a few weeks, and figured it would be the next person's problem.
    The hornets got angry, and as I walked by the nest, one came out and landed on my arm. I remember how it seemed so big it had problems flying.
    Sting to my upper right arm. Very painful, and my arm from the lower part of my neck down just past my elbow turned red, got really hot, and stayed that way for a week.
    When I told my Japanese neighbor, he very calmly told me "Oh, you we should have taken you to the doctor. These hornets kill many people every year. If it had stung you on the neck, you would have died too. It's ok, too late now, though". Then he got a can of spray that shot 10 Meters, killed the nest, and I got to smash it to bits while my upstairs neighbor whined.

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.