Bee-ware! Deadly hornets are invading the ‘Phoenix’ area . . . it seems.
Officials in China went to war against these Asian giant hornets after a spate of attacks in which 42 people were killed by the monstrous insects.
One 68-year-0ld out walking died in agony during a nightmarish incident when they smothered her in puncture wounds after their nest was blown over by the wind.
Hospitals were forced to set up specialist units to deal with the influx victims stricken by the insects’ lethally sharp 6mm-long stingers.
At least 1,600 people were treated after having venom pumped into their bodies by the highly aggressive creatures.
Nineteen people were killed and more than 210 were stung in the city of Ankang alone.
One man who suffered a wound several millimetres across said it had been like having a red hot nail hammered into his flesh.
The humans responded by blasting every hornet nest they could find with toxins and flames.
But nothing has been able to halt the advance of these fearsome winged aggressors, which are now cropping up across Europe.
Fradley’s social media contributor warned people to look out for the deadly hornets, saying:
Just to let you all know, this afternoon I discovered a very large type of wasp looking insect in my garage.
After doing research and getting an opinion from the environment agency, it has been made clear that we have Giant Asian Hornets in our area.
These are highly dangerous and can hospitalise a human and even kill them. Please be aware.
She noted gravely that where there was one, there were always more.
Britain’s native hornets also occur in Staffordshire. But they are smaller and far less aggressive than the Asian variety, which is the largest on earth.
And it is not just people who need to look out for these interlopers. Bee colonies are also in peril.
There are records of them attacking domestic hives. An Asian giant hornet will land at the entrance and wait for the bees to come out to defend their home and queen.
Sad little corpses
They are no match for the hornet, which uses powerful mandibles to snip off their heads until there is a pile of tiny corpses and no more bees to put up a fight.
Then the hunter enters the hive to attack the honey store. It leaves a pheromone (scent) trail to guide others to the site.
Only in Asia has nature brought some fairness to the fight. Japanese bees do not leave the hive to attack their aggressor.
Their local giant hornets are a sub-species of the Fradley specimen and only half-jokingly called, ‘yak killers’.
When they arrive at a hive the bees do not flood out to get slaughtered. Instead they wait until the hornet comes in to get them and then they leap on it in a mass.
The bees’ stingers are useless against the giant invader. But once they cover the killer in a ball of their own bodies their exertions raise the temperature inside and increase the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration.
The little defenders can tolerate heat up to 50°C. But 46°C in combination with a high CO2 level will kill a hornet.
And dead hornets tell no tales – they cannot leave pheromone trails to betray the hive’s location to others from their nest.