You'd think it only happens in the movies, but yes, giant insects swarming on humans and killing them actually does happen. In China, 28 people have died after getting bitten by a swarm of Asian giant hornets.
Witnesses and survivors lucky enough to endure the ordeal recalled being chased for hundreds of metres. The Asian giant hornets can probably outrace a skilled and talented runner. It is capable of flying up to 62 miles (100 kilometres) at speeds of 25 mph (40 km/h).
An Asian giant hornet feeding on a mantis.
Victims were bitten and stung up to 200 times.
If not immediately treated, such multiple stings can prove fatal to a victim. A victim reported suffering acute renal failure while another was hospitalized for almost a month.
The attack of the Asian giant hornets, also known as Vespa mandarinia, happened over a period of several weeks in and around the towns of Ankang, Hanzhong and Shangluo of Shaanxi. Authorities have advised residents to refrain walking through fields and wooded areas this year. They likewise advised victims to seek immediate treatment.
"Patients with more than 10 hornet stings should seek medical attention. Those with more than 30 stings need immediate emergency treatment," Chinese Business, a local newspaper quoted a director of Ankang Disease Control Centre, as saying.
Zhou Yuanhong, a health official, told the Associated Press the Asian giant hornets' attacks were not an unusual occurrence. In fact, 36 people have died in the city and 715 others injured between 2002 and 2005 because of the attacks.
However, the rather aggressive nature of the insects this year was noted to be particularly severe because of the weather changes. According to experts, the hornets breed more successfully in warmer temperatures where hundreds or even thousands could live in a single nest. It is believed they go deeper into wooded areas in search of bee colonies.
A defensive ball of Japanese honey bees (Apis cerana japonica) in which two hornets (Vespa simillima xanthoptera) are engulfed, incapacitated and heated.
A swarm of not even more than 30 hornets can easily wipe out a 30,000-strong honeybee colony in just a matter of hours.
Hospitals around the affected areas have set up special units to focus on patients bitten by the Asian giant hornets. Fire crews have likewise mobilized to remove hornet nests.
The Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia)
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