(NaturalNews) Swarms of giant hornets have claimed 28 lives and injured hundreds more in an unexpected wave of attacks on remote rural areas and small cities in southern Shaanxi. The attacks have repeatedly been taking place over the last few months, with some victims claiming that they were chased by hornets for several hundreds meters before being stung up to 200 times.
Reports of fatalities emerged in the cities of Ankang, Hanzhong and Shangluo. According to local authorities, people should seek medical help if they get stung about 10 times, with 30 or more stings being considered a medical emergency. Two types of hornets breed in the Shaanxi area, but the main perpetrator is believed to be the Asian giant hornet (Vespa manadarina).
Two inches in length and a 3-inch wingspan
This behemoth can grow up to 2 inches in length and has a wingspan of 3 inches. Its potent venom is highly toxic to humans and can quickly induce anaphylactic shock and kidney failure. The toxin can damage tissues and is hard to recover from, even with treatment. A Chinese woman who survived over 200 stings and needed to be hospitalized for a month said that she is still struggling with urinary incontinence.
The Asian giant hornet is known for being intensely predatory and can become very aggressive when nests are disturbed. They are also a threat to honey bees, which they will hunt for food. With large mandibles that can decapitate a bee in one strike, a handful of giant hornets are capable of swiftly devastating an entire bee colony.
Disturbance of hornet nests to blame
The current attacks on humans are believed to be, at least in part, a consequence of humans progressively intruding into wooded areas where they may encounter and disturb hornet nests.
Warmer temperatures in recent years means that hornets have been able to breed more successfully, and their numbers have grown. Ankang authorities have tried to cull their numbers by removing 300 nests last summer but have explained that the attacks will likely not stop until the temperature drops.
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