In not-so-awesome news, when you head to the RV park with the family you may have some not-so-cool camping guests, because...MASSIVE KILLER HORNETS ARE KILLING PEOPLE! Yes, it's true. First it was testicle-eating fish invading American lakes, then it was ginormous spider crabs stalking our beaches. Now, it's MASSIVE KILLER HORNETS KILLING PEOPLE!
The Asian Giant Hornets kill about 40 people each year in Japan. It's considered the deadliest of the hornet species. It's as thick as a thumb, and it's gang-like behavior makes it a ruthless predator. Basically, after a Giant Hornet goes on a honey scouting expedition, it goes to its nest grabs a bunch of other hornets and attacks the honey hive.
A video by National Geographic has captured such an attack. About 30 hornets are known to kill about 30,000 bees in their bee hive in about three hours. The goal of the Asian Giant Hornet is to attack the larvae of the bees, which are used as feed for their own nests.
If that's not nightmare-fuel enducing, try this on for size: "In Japan, the Asian Giant Hornets kill the bees by splitting them in half with their mandibles." They literally tear bees apart with their jaws!
Illinois' Arlington Cardinal reports that a lone Japanese Giant Hornet was spotted flying in Arlington Heights on Sunday, July 29, 2012.
Sunday, an Asian Giant Hornet or Japanese Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia) was spotted at a residence west of St. Viator High School. The insect was at least two inches long and as thick as a human thumb. It had a wide orange-yellow head with large eyes, and distinct yellow-orange and brownish-black bands on its body — like a bee. The Asian Giant Hornet patrolled around a house in the front yard — occasionally hovering and landing on shrubbery. The Asian Giant Hornet studied a yellow-jacket nest that was recently destroyed with Raid wasp spray on the property. Yes, the giant hornets attack Yellow Jacket nests.
Asian Giant Hornets have appeared in Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Most recently, CNN reports that Giant Asian Hornets are responsible for the deaths of dozens of people in China, with over 1,500 wounded by "their powerful venomous sting." Her scientific name is Vespa mandarinia and her venom is so deadly it annihilates your red blood cells, which can cause kidney failure, and in some extreme cases, death.
But perhaps a bigger problem than the toxicity of the venom is allergy, Schmidt says. Some people are naturally more allergic to stinging insects than others; a sting can trigger a deadly anaphylactic reaction, which may involve airway closure or cardiac arrest. Since July, hornet attacks have killed 42 people and injured 1,675 people in three cities in Shaanxi province, according to the local government. Among those attacked, 206 are receiving treatment in hospitals.
Killer hornets are also on the move...
Now experts have warned that they could now be headed to the South of England. The warning is contained in the latest House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) report on invasive non-native species. The British Beekeepers Association says it is "likely" that the Giant Asian hornets are heading this way. Their toxic sting can cause death through anaphylactic shock and kidney failure.
The Asian Giant Hornet measures between 3.5 to 3.9 cm in length (which is 1.4 to 1.5 inches). It's black tooth is "used for burrowing" and a queen can grow up to 2 inches in length!
During breeding season a Giant Asian Hornet can produce between 1,000 and 2,000 offspring!
Here's the fun part: "The giant hornets are attracted to human sweat, alcohol and sweet flavors and smells. They are especially sensitive to when animals or people run..." Awesome! So, now when you're out camping, soaking up the sun, building up a sweat and drinking profusely with your buddies, just remember, if you see a giant hornet coming at you don't run away! Or, whatever, run away. I mean, if I see a Giant Killer Hornet coming after me, I'm running away screaming.
If you're lucky enough to catch a Giant Killer Hornet you could make it into a tasty drink:
There is a sports drink in Japan called VAAM that incorporates amino acids derived from hornets. In Taiwan, where the giant hornet is known as the "tiger head," the insect is sometimes used in alcoholic drinks, Starr said, the idea being that "the essence of this great big strong hornet will go out into the booze, and when you drink it, you'll become strong."
Need more nightmare fuel?