Wild Fact #610 – Don’t Mess with the Devil – Asian Giant Hornet


Photo by Gary Alpert

Earlier this weekend, I chose a great animal to write about for today’s Wild Fact.  Unfortunately, I have completely forgotten what the animal was now that it is time to write the fact.  I suppose this is why you should jot down ideas as they come to you.  Anyway, I did manage to think of another impressive animal from the insect world.  I know, I know…ewww, insects!  Trust me, the Asian Giant Hornet is a pretty cool bug, unless of course you don’t like hornets.

As you may have guessed by the name, the Asian Giant Hornet is actually the largest hornet species in the world.  I am curious to see if you can guess where you find these massive hornets.  Wow!  You are good.  How did you know they can be found throughout Eastern Asia?  If you are from Japan then you may know them as Giant Sparrow Bees.  Okay, so just how big are these guys?  Well it is not uncommon to find a 5 cm (2″) long hornet with a wing span of about 7.6 cm (3″).  Now before we go any further, I want you to use your index finger and thumb to measure out 2 inches.  Now picture that as a hornet!

Photo by Hornetboy1970

Okay, so they are big hornets, do we need to worry about them?  Before I answer this question, I want to describe some of their characteristics a bit more.  These large hornets use their size to bully other insects, particularly European Honeybees.  In fact, they are such efficient predators that just one Giant Hornet can kill about 40 European Honeybees per minute! Imagine the carnage they would bring if you had numerous Giant Hornets.  Obviously, this is a problem for bee farmers.  Luckily, these giant beasts do not particularly like the taste of humans.

Unfortunately, the Asian Giant Hornet will sting humans if need be.  People that have been stung describe the pain as excruciating.  This makes sense considering their stingers are about 1/4 inch long and can expel a venom so powerful that it can dissolve human flesh.  As a result, if you don’t seek medical attention after being stung then you could very well end up on your death bed.  In fact, 40 people every year fall at the stingers of the Asian Giant Hornet.  My advice is to be careful while playing around in the mountains of Japan.  After all, National Geographic titled their video series about this giant insect,  “Hornets from Hell” for a reason.  Don’t go messing with the devil, especially when they have a stinger!

Below is a short clip from the above mentioned documentary.  The Giant Hornet gets outsmarted in this video but it is such an amazing documentary that I had to share it.  The twist at the end of the video is impressive! Enjoy the video and the rest of your day!

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