asian giant hornets

We blindfolded 15 homophobes and asked them to hit piñatas with a stick. The piñatas were actually deadly Asian giant hornet nests. What happens next will warm your heart.


Dog Fight

Giant Asian Hornets - Vespa mandarinia vs. Vespa soror (Vespidae)

In the latter third of the year, the giant Vespid hornets are on the wing foraging for carrion to feed their hives. Even if you don’t see them, you can hear them searching through the canopy and amongst the leaf litter for prey. Once they locate something, the response is swift and ruthless.

In this case, the daddy of them all and the world’s largest hornet, Vespa mandarinia had stumbled across a marginally smaller Vespa soror. Both would have had the same mission, but obviously the large V. mandarinia did not consider the V. soror too much of a risk. They both tumbled out of a tree onto the ground in a buzzing mass, and while I approached and took pictures, the smaller hornet had its head eaten and the rest of its body completely dismembered. In the end, the victor departed with only the thorax of its quarry on board. Potentially, it may have returned for the abdomen. The whole attack and butchering took just over a minute.

Multiple human casualities are reported annually in China from hornet attacks, which has earned them a reputation worthy of caution but probably not a true reflection of reality. I would guess the majority of attacks occur while rural folk are collecting the massive nests. The developing larval and pupal wasps are plucked from their paper cells and sold at market for frying as food and pickling as a traditional medicine. Although intimidating, I have been in very close proximity to many of these large hornets in the wild as individuals, and they either ignore you or display only a fleeting curiosity, before going on their way. As with most things, I am sure if I yelled hysterically and flailed my arms about, the response might be very different. I would NEVER knowingly approach a nest.

My experience has been that the smaller species such as Vespa velutina are far more aggressive away from the hive and will pester and pursue you, and may, in fact, be the culprits in many adverse hornet-human encounters. Unfortunately, the “burn it with fire” philosophy of the Chinese layman literally applies in all cases irrespective of species or intentions (as it does pretty much everywhere in the world).

by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu'er, Yunnan, China

See more Chinese Hymenopterans (wasps, hornets, bees, ants and sawflies) on my Flickr site HERE…..

Pernis ptilorhynchus, aka the crested honey buzzard, is, well, a big bird. Common sense says that seems like pretty much the worst thing to be in a fight against a swarm of huge, overtly toxic hell-insects. The honey buzzard, however, disproves our puny logic by being the only natural predator to Asian giant hornets – and therefore pretty much the only thing keeping the entire ecosystem of Asia from collapsing into a dark, twisted realm ruled by the Hornet King.

It manages to hunt the little monsters by having certain natural advantages that come off like they were designed by Lucius Fox himself. The buzzard’s coat consists entirely of unique feathers that are capable of protecting it against wasp stings like the ornithological equivalent of the Batsuit.

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Butcher at Work

The Asian Giant Hornet (Vespa soror, Vespidae) almost matches the world’s largest V. mandarinia (also a Yunnan local) for size, but probably exceeds it in predatory voracity.

I was a late arrival to this murder scene and am not sure if the hornet was the original cause of this large Hawk Moth Caterpillar’s (Sphingidae) demise, but it was certainly dividing up the spoils. The hornet may very well have assaulted the caterpillar in the tree canopy and then ridden it to the crowd for butchering. The carrion is chewed to a pulp by the adult hornet and fed to the hornet larvae but first needs to be returned to the nest in portable morsels and this individual was hell-bent on separating the caterpillar’s head from the rest of the mess before airlifting it away.

The Asian Giant Hornet (Vespa soror, Vespidae) below had taken the easy option and commandeered a Pink Skimmer dragonfly (Orthetrum pruinosum) ensnared in the web of a Jorō Spider (Nephila clavata). Suspended from the web, the hornet was unceremoniously dismembering and devouring it’s stolen meal.

External image

by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu'er, Yunnan, China

See more Chinese Hymenopterans (wasps, hornets, bees, ants and sawflies) on my Flickr site HERE…..

Thirty Asian giant hornets, following a scent laid by their scout, descend on a hive of honey bees and get straight to the decapitations. The hornets snag the tiny bees and pop their heads right off using their enormous mandibles. Here a head, there a head. Desperately, the bees try to sting the hornets, yet they can’t puncture the giants’ armor.

One by one the bees fall, a single hornet taking down as many as 20 victims a minute. The remarkable Asian giant hornet, Vespa mandarinia, grows to almost two inches in length and can sting through a rain jacket. The hornet is formidable, to say the least, but the native honey bees it menaces have an ingenious defense: They form a ball around the scout hornet and vibrate to cook the invader to death.

Read more about this week’s Absurd Creature, a modern winged T. rex.

Just a friendly reminder that the bees you shake out of trees are not actually bees. That is a mistranslation. They are Asian giant hornets. In real life, these suckers are as big as your thumb and can kill you even if you’re not allergic. If you don’t believe me, go to the wiki - that’s where I found this out.

Sweet dreams.

nightbirds-tavern  asked:

"Well look what we have here..." The tsuchigumo said as she dropped down from the tree she was resting on, landing right infront of the the firefly. "It seems I've found my meal~"

Scream and run? No… No, that would be expected from her, wouldn’t it?

… Ah, yes. Scream, run, /and/ summon a swarm of giant Asian hornets to defend her! That’ll work. 

So there she goes, screaming over the sound of loud buzzing.