Giant Hornets Attack Chinese Farmers Killing 42
Is it a case of nature gone nuts? Not quite, but farmers in north west China are coping with aggressive and poisonous giant hornets. Over 40 people have been killed and more than 1600 have been attacked. The hornets in question belong to the species Vespa mandarina and also Vespa velutina. V. mandarina is native to East Asia and is the largest known hornet. Wikipedia refers to it as a Yak Killer.
V. mandarina is described as about the length of an adult’s thumb and packs a whallop to match its size. The very toxic venom injected can dissolve tissue, affect nerves and bring about kidney failure. The bug is common in Japan where an entomologist described being stung by one of the beasts.
Masato Ono, an entomologist at Tamagawa University near Tokyo, described the sensation as feeling "like a hot nail being driven into my leg". Wikipedia
The official Chinese news outlet Xinhua News, has not given a definitive answer as to why this year is particularly bad for hornet attacks. It may be a combination of more nesting sites, a long spell of hot, dry weather allowing more hornets to survive the past winter and a lack of usual predators on the hornets. There is no explanation as to why the insects seem particularly aggressive this year. Last month a swarm attacked a primary school. Children were attacked inside their classroom. This resulted in the hospitalization of 29 people for treatment.