30 Japanese Giant Hornets Can Take Out 30,000 Honeybees
The world’s largest hornet is the Asian Giant Hornet (or Japanese Giant Hornet) and it is as dangerous as its reputation says. They are nicknamed “Yak killers” precisely because they’re capable of doing it. The Japanese Asian Hornet is the ultimate killer insect of Japan, responsible for 20 to 40 human deaths each year.
This giant killer insect is 2 inches long and has a wingspan of 3 inches. If you were to put one of these insects on your palm, it would occupy a good portion. Its wingspan is larger than some hummingbirds in Japan. Even more frightening is that the queen Asian giant hornets can grow up to 2.2 inches long – that’s longer than your thumb.
The Asian Giant Hornet’s Sting Can Dissolve Human Tissue
A single one of these insects can be fatal to an adult, especially if there is an allergic reaction. If you have been stung once before by one, the chance of anaphylactic shock is much higher if you get stung again. This hornet’s sting contains venom much more potent than typical wasps, bees, and hornets of other species. The stinger is a ¼ of an inch long – that is the size of the tip of a pencil!
Extra caution must be taken because a single sting from the Asian giant hornet can be lethal even to people who aren’t allergic to the venom. It consists of cytolytic peptide, which literally tears apart cell tissue on the molecular scale with phospholipase enzymes.
How Painful is the Sting of This Killer Hornet?
Like a hot nail being driven through my leg.
That’s what Masato Ono said, an entomologist in Tokyo who researches the huge insect. The size of the stinger is nearly the size of the tip of a nail after all. But the least of your worries would be the pain caused by the acetylcholine in the neurotoxin venom. If it decides to keep stinging you repeatedly, you’re in for a bad day, and research shows that if you wear a black shirt, you have a higher chance of being a target.
Also, the Asian giant hornet primarily uses its powerful mandibles to crush other insects, such as bees and wasps. They partake in large scale warfare and you can see just how much more stronger these hornets are compared to other insect predators in the environment.
If You Are Stung, Run Away As Fast As Possible and Seek Medical Help
After the Asian giant hornet stings you, there will be pheromone chemicals released by the venom that attracts all nearby killer hornets to attack you en masse and sting you to death. If you didn’t kill it, it will keep stinging you because like all wasps and hornet species, it has a barbless stinger. Using it doesn’t cause death. This is a defensive measure used when protecting their hives and nests.
Did I mention run as fast as you can? These killer insects can fly at speeds of 25 miles per hour and travel 40 miles a day in large swarms.
They are invaders of other bees and wasp hives and as seen in the video of them decimating 30,000 honeybees, they have the ability to dominate any environment full of non-native Japanese insect species.
The Japanese honey bees, unlike their European cousins, have a strategy to kill the giant Asian hornet before it can call upon a party to invade their hive. All insects send a scout or two to find food or resources and that’s all it takes. A single sighting is enough for the scout hornet to release a chemical trail which will then be traced back.
However, the native Japanese honey bee has a tactic of collectively having all the workers of the hive swarm around the giant hornet scout, preventing escape and vibrating intensely, causing the molecules in the air to heat up. The temperature rises up to 117 degrees (47 degrees Celsius) and causes the hornet’s organs to implode from the heat, since it cannot tolerate the conditions. Several bees are sacrificed but the entire colony is saved from a mass invasion.
Two stings or more to any person can be deadly and they’re capable for chasing for a long time. They are attracted to certain perfumes (they contain chemicals that are similar to their swarm-kill instinct pheromone) and having alcohol beverages and sugar products is basically painting a target sign on your body. Asian giant hornets are ferocious defenders and can kill animals much larger than humans if they get too close to their nesting sites.
One of Nature’s Deadliest Killers
Now you know how being the largest hornet in the world gives the giant Asian hornet a fearsome reputation. It has a deadly venomous sting, insect-cutting mandibles, and has the ability to kill colonies of bees, wasps, praying mantises, livestock, and even humans.
Do not mess with nature’s deadliest.