What’s that on your nose? – “A giant Asian hornet” you say


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So you may be asking is that me with the Giant Asian Hornet on my nose? No, this is Kurt Bell who was kind enough to allow me to use this photo. But there is a reason why I show you this fascinating hornet. Last year during my second visit to Russia the wife, family and I were out at our Dacha several miles from home. It’s quieter there and during the summer a great place to escape the heat of the city. I had just come out of the tool shed with spade in hand when I heard this all familiar buzz of what I knew was the beating wings of a hornet. Now many of us can test our memory for this and agree that this hum is a low vibration of a certain beating that we associate with this small but vicious little beast. What I heard streak by my left ear was a much heavier beating one of a unfamiliar origin, my eyes lifted up to understand what I was hearing and hovering before me looking straight at me was this creäture that looked like it had stepped out of a Jurassic Park movie. It was for no more than maybe twenty seconds but felt much, asian hornetsmuch longer. I know what was racing through my mind, but I had no idea what it was thinking. I had a spade in my hand would raising acknowledge aggressive behavior on my part and elicit the same action on it’s part. Realizing I may be outmatched so I stood down.  My conclusion afterwards was he wanted to welcome me to Russia or recognized that I wasn’t Russian either way, fear struck my heart. What the heck was this thing? This is the Giant Asian Hornet, and as you can see it’s not your ordinary house wasp or annoying hornet hovering around your open can of Coke. This thing is a monster bug!

After consulting my wife she told me I experienced a rare event, here in Kazan they are a relatively rare sighting. This very statement was challenged several weeks later as we were walking to migration services. Again I heard this same humming sound coming from my same ear. What the heck? “Rare”, once was enough but twice. I’m beginning to think this Russian hornet was stalking me. This time it didn’t hang around long probably knowing it was outnumbered. This began my hunt to know who my opponent was.

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An 18-month-old girl from An Kang, China survived the Asian Hornet sting but was left with a massive wound on her foot.

I’ve kept tabs on my little friend since then, one should always keep an eye on his enemies. I read recently that in China 42 people have lost their lives to this nasty menace and those numbers may be on the low side. This hornet has a stinger that’s 1/4″ long and packs a very powerful mix of foreign protein that when mixed in the human bloodstream can cause sepsis. Without proper treatment, such as dialysis, a victim will die. You may think, Thank God they are only in China, but this statement would be wrong. Recently they have been found in the United States and the number of sightings are growing.

So what is their modus operandi. First it’s known that they will attack people’s eyes. Second it will spray a pheromone into the air that calls in a swarm of its friends. It’s true that if it wants nectar, and there’s a beehive in the way, this kind of hornet will swarm the bees, ripping them in half, and take control of the food supply. In larger numbers, these hornets do threaten ecosystems, and it would be really scary if they started invading other regions where they don’t have natural enemies.

So in the States

CicadaKillerWaspIn Arlington Heights, Illinois on Sunday, July 29, 2012 an Asian Giant Hornet or Japanese Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia) was spotted near a residence close to the High School. The insect was at least two inches long and as thick as a human thumb. They can be recognized by  the wide orange-yellow head with large eyes, and distinct yellow-orange and brownish-black bands on its body — like a bee. This Asian Giant Hornet patrolled around a house in the front yard — occasionally hovering and landing on shrubbery. What is curious is the Asian Giant Hornet studied a yellow-jacket nest that had been recently destroyed with Raid wasp spray on the property. Yes, these giant hornets will attack Yellow Jacket nests as well. One of their cousins has also announced it presence in the states. This guy is the a Cicada Killer Wasp with yellow splashes which is darker than the Japanese Giant Hornet or Asian Giant Hornet.

In conclusion, the day I meet this little fellow I had no clue what I was dealing with, today I can say not lifting the spade was a wise choice. I might have beat him but his call to his buddies could have been a disaster. Remember no one dies if you walk away. Live and let live.

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