Giant hornets have killed dozens of people in China

By Conor Hallahan


Multiple reports have been emerging from central China in recent weeks of a spate of giant hornet attacks that have resulted in the deaths of dozens of people.

Nope, this is not the plot of a horror movie.

According to the Associated Press, more than 100 people in the Angkang city area of Shaanxi province have been stung by swarms of the insects in recent months, and treated in Ankang City Central Hospital.

Eighteen of them have died, according to health officials, but a local state-run newspaper claimed 21 have died in hospitals.

The insect responsible is believed to be the Asian Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia), the largest insect of its type in the world with an extremely potent sting which can cause anaphylactic shock and renal failure.

The hornets average just over two inches in length - sizeable enough compared to your ordinary wasp - but the queens can grow pretty big, as this photo from a Canadian wasp expert shows (don't worry, they're dead):

(Picture: Addicted2Hymenoptera via Flickr)

People in the region are killed by hornets every year, especially in forested areas, but this year has been unusually severe, possibly because of weather changes.

In the affected village of Sanping, people have been warned “to be very vigilant while in the woods”.

Or alternatively, MOVE.

Of course, even the Chinese hornets are pussycats compared to their cousins in Japan - stripey evil killing machines, even when outnumbered 1,000 to one.

Seriously, don't watch this video if you plan on doing any sleeping tonight.

"As the corpses pile up, the hornets begin to tire."


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