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October 3, 2013 5:23 AM   Subscribe

Deadly Asian giant hornets - aka Vespa mandarinia - kill at least 41 people in China. Hundreds more have been hospitalized by these 2+ inch beasts with a sting that packs a human-tissue dissolving neurotoxin. Survivor stories are terrifying. Think you are safe in the U.S. or Britain? Nope and nope. (via @BitterOldPunk)
posted by madamjujujive (130 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
What should we burn them with?

That's right, fire.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 5:28 AM on October 3, 2013 [26 favorites]


Asian giant hornets are the largest hornets in the world. They're the Asia of hornets, in fact.

*stares icily at screen*
posted by echocollate at 5:29 AM on October 3, 2013 [43 favorites]


"The more you run, the more they want to chase you," said another victim, whose kidneys were ravaged by the venom. When he was admitted to the hospital, his urine was the color of soy sauce, according to local reports.

Thanks for the image! Jerk.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:30 AM on October 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


That's right, fire.

Nuking them from orbit is the only way to be sure, you know.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:30 AM on October 3, 2013 [12 favorites]


Nuking them from orbit is good, too. I can get behind that.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 5:37 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Time to link to that video of bees killing giant hornets by cooking them alive.

GO BEES GO SAVE US ALL
posted by fight or flight at 5:38 AM on October 3, 2013 [46 favorites]


The bummer is that people may start mistakenly killing Cicada Killers, which are not at all dangerous to people and actually sort of neat to have around. Unless you're a cicada, in which case they are your mortal enemies.
posted by jquinby at 5:40 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


More about the hornet-killing bee ball of righteous death.
This brain activation was also seen when the bees were exposed to heat, supporting the idea the brain region is sending out directions to keep the bees producing steady heat that's hot enough to kill the hornets, but not themselves. This neural activity wasn't seen in European honeybees.

"Because there is only 3 to 5 C difference [5 to 9 degrees F] in the lethal temperature between the Japanese honeybee and the giant hornet, accurate monitoring and precise control of heat generation during forming a hot defensive bee ball seem critical for the Japanese honeybees," they wrote.
Oh. Bummer.
posted by fight or flight at 5:44 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


The bummer is that people may start mistakenly killing Cicada Killers, which are not at all dangerous to people and actually sort of neat to have around.

Please note the helpful pictures. When you grab the hornet in your hand, the Asian giant will be much larger than the Cicada Killer. Also it will sting you where the Cicada Killer will not.
posted by hal9k at 5:48 AM on October 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Where is it winter, all the time? I'm going to move there, I think.
posted by xingcat at 5:50 AM on October 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


[W]e’ve created a Facebook page to help track sightings, and report experiences with Asian Giant Hornets or other bees, wasps, and hornets. If you’re interested, please LIKE Facebook.com/AsianGiantHornet.

Has the like button's name ever been so problematic?
posted by Going To Maine at 5:52 AM on October 3, 2013 [23 favorites]


I saw those yesterday and just...damn.
Hornets are the batshit-insane members of the insect family. But, those things...Time to evacuate the planet.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:54 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


If they want to work in the US legally, they'll need an H1-bee visa.
posted by dr_dank at 5:54 AM on October 3, 2013 [60 favorites]


When he was admitted to the hospital, his urine was the color of soy sauce, according to local reports.

It's made from bee ball!
posted by hal9k at 5:55 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


FWIW, I haven't seen anything about these hornets in any of the various local beekeeping newsletters I get. There was a suspected Africanized (or partially Africanized) hive out in east TN a year or two ago, but it was traced to some bees obtained from a GA producer, and not a feral hive.

Seems like all you'd have to do is severely reduce the entrance. I just took a look at the beesource forums and there are a few threads about European hornets. There seems to be some dispute.
posted by jquinby at 5:55 AM on October 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Do not want.
posted by sio42 at 5:55 AM on October 3, 2013


"...the insects are sensitive to chemicals found in food and cosmetics."

Immediately ceases eating and grooming
posted by madamjujujive at 6:01 AM on October 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


[Weird racism derail deleted; carry on.]
posted by taz at 6:01 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


they want to work in the US legally, they'll need an H1-bee visa.

Boooooo!

Also, I'm putting them on the Do Not Fly list.
posted by eriko at 6:03 AM on October 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


Good, I was having trouble imagining an Asian WASP.
posted by bleep-blop at 6:05 AM on October 3, 2013


,,|,, NOPE NOPE NOPE ,,|,,
posted by NoMich at 6:10 AM on October 3, 2013 [14 favorites]


Oh jesus god it's those horrible death hornets from the Hunger Games. Next we'll get the werewolf things and the birds that sound like your kid sister dying. I knew the Hunger Games were our future but I figured it'd be the part with the cruel totalitarian regime and the propaganda and extreme social inequality, not the part with the fucking hornets.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:10 AM on October 3, 2013 [50 favorites]


I, for one, curse our new insect overlords.
posted by argonauta at 6:12 AM on October 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


I won't believe Asian hornets really are a menace to Britain until the Daily Mail informs me either that they cause cancer or that they are extracting disproportionate amounts of honey from state-owned hives at the expense of native born populations.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:12 AM on October 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


The size of these things seem to make them ideal for picking them off one by one from a safe distance* with a bb gun. My friend and I would decimate yellow jacket hives with this strategy.



*There is no safe distance.
posted by Atreides at 6:13 AM on October 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Asian Giant Hornet vs. Africanized Killer Bee. Whichever one wins, we lose.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 6:20 AM on October 3, 2013


We've got to get organized! We should not be losing to hornets, people!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:23 AM on October 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Cue me never sleeping again, thanks.
posted by corb at 6:23 AM on October 3, 2013


Here's a great picture that everyone will love.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:30 AM on October 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Here's a great picture that everyone will love. Thanks for that! I'd been having a hard time trying to stay awake all day. Now I will never sleep again!
posted by getawaysticks at 6:31 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sleep tight, my English countrymen.
posted by Optamystic at 6:38 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's a great picture that everyone will love.

Were those pics taken right outside Fukushima?
posted by any major dude at 6:39 AM on October 3, 2013


Where is it winter, all the time? I'm going to move there, I think.

We thawed the places where it used to be winter all the time. And it's going to get worse. The wasps of the future will eat these little critters for breakfast.
posted by headnsouth at 6:39 AM on October 3, 2013


I'm pretty sure that, ironically, Australia is safe from these.
posted by Quilford at 6:41 AM on October 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


I've seen this movie. The bees all ran away to find these things to come and get revenge for screwing up their food supply. This won't end well.
posted by lownote at 6:42 AM on October 3, 2013


Shootin' some bee ball outside after school?
posted by Foosnark at 6:45 AM on October 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


I live on the outskirts of Tokyo, and have these things flying around my backyard all the time. I had no idea they were so dangerous. Time to sell the house, I suppose.
posted by chomarui at 6:46 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Kids, get inside the house"

*reloads*
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:47 AM on October 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jesus, this is worse than that spider bite thread from a few weeks ago -- and that skeeved me out for days.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:48 AM on October 3, 2013


via @BitterOldPunk

So they're his fault! Burn the manwitch!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:49 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whoa no idea that Cicada Killers were so gentle. I've been freaking out about them for years. Sorry Cicada Killers!

All other stinging bee creatures can die horribly and soon.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:51 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


See? It's not that I don't want to go jogging. Really. It's just that there are giant killer wasps out there. I'm sure you understand.
posted by Optamystic at 6:55 AM on October 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


Please note my species name and do not try to kill me with fire.
posted by vespabelle at 6:57 AM on October 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


When he was admitted to the hospital, his urine was the color of soy sauce, according to local reports.

Mmmmmm... sauce
posted by Mario Speedwagon at 6:57 AM on October 3, 2013


I know stories like this want me to be hysterical, but it's so easy when my brain also wants to be hysterical. Because OH GOD AUGH TERROR-INSECT DEATH.
posted by erlking at 6:57 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Time to link to that video of bees killing giant hornets by cooking them alive .

Can't watch the video with sound on right now, but do I understand correctly that the hornet is COVERED IN BEES?
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:58 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's a great picture that everyone will love.

if you enjoy sleeping, the great outdoors, or sweet dreams, do not click that photo
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:58 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


> I live on the outskirts of Tokyo, and have these things flying around my backyard all the time. I had no idea they were so dangerous. Time to sell the house, I suppose.

The movies promised us that nuclear disasters would bring giant fire-breathing lizards. All we got was the terror of large savage wasps that bore holes in our flesh and destroy our organs. Fuck you, nature.
posted by ardgedee at 7:03 AM on October 3, 2013


but do I understand correctly that the hornet is COVERED IN BEES?

Knowing the way the human race screws things up, we probably piss off the bees enough that they will make an alliance with the hornets, so we will get huge hornets flying around with squads of bees attached. They will also be carrying spiders and scorpions.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:05 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


The school I teach at has a shockingly large campus for a junior/senior high school. Granted, it's kind of more than that, but the campus is really quite beautiful. There's even a preschool on the grounds.

And these hornets. They're around. They're very, very large. Pretty damn terrifying. Around kids. That they can outright kill.

They started to build a nest hanging from the eaves of my neighbor's house. Their nests can grow quite large, like the old couple's house in the country side, where the got into the crawl spaces, and built a nest that, well, it boggled the mind, how big it was. Pretty much filled the attic. Filled the attic with two inch long angry poisonous hornets. They're fucking terrifying, and they're all around Japan.

Did I mention the awamori? The okinawan firewater? Sure, from time to time, they put poisonous snakes in the bottle for that little kick. If you find the right (or very, very wrong) bar, they'll have a bottle stuffed with these hornets. Be glad I couldn't find a picture. Very, very glad.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:08 AM on October 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


I really, really, really doubt that report from Illinois has anything resembling accurate reporting in it.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 7:15 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


If they ever hook up with bedbugs, we're doomed.
posted by spitbull at 7:15 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why do I read these stories? Why do I click on the pictures? So so, sorry that I cannot unlearn or un-see this.
posted by theora55 at 7:19 AM on October 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


I need to not transfer my new fear of Asian giant hornets to the perfectly placid nest of bumblebees in the middle of my lawn.
posted by JanetLand at 7:21 AM on October 3, 2013


I've gotten over some of my stinging insect phobia since getting stung half a dozen times by yellow jackets as a little kid; Bees don't really bother me anymore and I can mostly deal with scary-looking but harmless-to-humans wasps... but to this day the adrenalin kicks in when I see a yellow jacket or white faced hornet. If it flies towards me, I become this guy.

I can't even imagine seeing a Vespa mandarinia in real life, much less being attacked by one. I'm pretty sure that would be H.P. Lovecraft "driven mad by indescribable horror from another dimension" territory for me.
posted by usonian at 7:23 AM on October 3, 2013


30 Japanese Giant Hornets Kill 30,000 Honey Bees in Three Hours
posted by Dragonness at 7:27 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


People wonder why Noah didn't swat the last two mosquitos when he had the chance. Now I want to know why he let these monstrosities on the ark!
posted by TedW at 7:28 AM on October 3, 2013


>Here's a great picture that everyone will love.


Hey, I remember that episode!
posted by 2N2222 at 7:28 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


30 Japanese Giant Hornets Kill 30,000 Honey Bees in Three Hours

"REEFORRM THE LIINE! REFORM THE LINE!"
posted by Z. Aurelius Fraught at 7:28 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's a great picture that everyone will love.

You can't fool me. That's just a photo of the world's smallest human hand with TOTALLY NORMAL SIZED hornets for scale for some reason.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:28 AM on October 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


Ow
Ow
Ow
Owwwwww!
posted by caddis at 7:31 AM on October 3, 2013


Just make them all fly into the Superdome and turn down the heat.

Problem solved!
posted by papercake at 7:33 AM on October 3, 2013


Sure, Asia's got killer hornets, but we've got...Wu-Tang Killa Beez!
posted by Rangeboy at 7:33 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fire-ants, armadillos, and hornets! Oh my!
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:34 AM on October 3, 2013


People wonder why Noah didn't swat the last two mosquitos when he had the chance.

Well, to be fair, Noah had more than two of a lot of creatures. He had thousands of bees for example. Where did he store the, you ask?







In the arc-hives!
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:36 AM on October 3, 2013 [23 favorites]


And people whinge about Australian fauna? We ain't got nothin that will hunt you down like this.

except the drop-bears.
posted by polyglot at 7:37 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Augh, Illinois is 90 minutes away from me. Time to move to Alaska... wait, that's even closer to Japan. Is Nunavut safe?
posted by desjardins at 7:42 AM on October 3, 2013


I'd break out the bug zapper but I'm not 100% the holes in the grating are big enough.
posted by smoothvirus at 7:42 AM on October 3, 2013


Did anyone else think of the X-Files alien vaccine bee distribution plot? Maybe they moved those hives from Tunisia and Texas to China?
posted by fontophilic at 7:44 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd never thought I'd be so glad for the advent of Canadian winter.

COME AT US HORNETS

(just kidding please don't)
posted by Kitteh at 7:56 AM on October 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


can we blame this on the Republicans?
posted by desjardins at 8:00 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Where is it winter, all the time? I'm going to move there, I think.

At the Mountains of Madness Safeness!

I'll just take my chances with the Shoggoths and Elder Things, thank you.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:05 AM on October 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Got stung by one of these about three years ago. An expert on the hornet describes the pain as being comparable to having a very large nail hammered through your bone. That was about right. That toxin pretty much fires off every pain receptor in the area. The pain doesn't go away for days. It's a pain that's really hard to describe as it hurts more than any physical thing actually could, it seems to interface directly with your brain. There's no way to shut it out and it comes in continuous waves that tear through your body. At least with a stab/broken bone, the pain is localized. With a hornet sting like this, your entire limb flares up and doesn't stop until your body is exhausted by the pain.

The worst part was having to wear overlarge Crocs due to excessive foot swelling.
posted by Telf at 8:07 AM on October 3, 2013 [45 favorites]


Here's a great picture that everyone will love.

The best bit about it is the way the hornet on the far right has its head turned towards the others.

"Guys, guys, what are we doing? Is this a photoshoot? Did we get the press release about the honey bees out in time? Guys?"
"Shut up and look mean, Steve."
posted by Catseye at 8:08 AM on October 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


> can we blame this on the Republicans?

WASPs seething with unreasoning anger and eager to destroy everything they can't control? Hm.
posted by ardgedee at 8:10 AM on October 3, 2013 [19 favorites]


Ye gods, Telf. That's horrifying. (Please take the favorite in the spirit in which it was intended).
posted by Optamystic at 8:11 AM on October 3, 2013


Optamystic,
It wasn't so bad, the Crocs were a nice subdued brown color and matched my belt. Also, they were actually a knock off brand from a local market and only cost about $3. That made it easier to give them away a few days later.
posted by Telf at 8:14 AM on October 3, 2013 [17 favorites]


The nopetepus rides again. Stick me in an underwater habitat or a spaceship. Then I'm safe until they figure out how to create scuba or rockets, and that should give me a couple of years. (You know how a lot of people have a thing about spiders? I have that for bees. And I'm not even allergic, just had enough bad run ins.)
posted by Hactar at 8:15 AM on October 3, 2013


Also, I misquoted the reference. Looks like wikipedia has the description as:

Masato Ono, an entomologist at Tamagawa University near Tokyo, described the sensation as feeling "like a hot nail being driven into my leg".
posted by Telf at 8:17 AM on October 3, 2013


Did anyone else think of the X-Files alien vaccine bee distribution plot?

No, but I did think of the Sliders episode where they travel to a California evacuated due to the invasion of giant wasps. At the time I thought the creature effect design was laughably oversized in the best tradition of cheap sci-fi monsters. Surely, I thought, nothing in nature could get even close to that prop. Then I saw the picture in the first link.
posted by audi alteram partem at 8:17 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


My favorite thing about stinging insects is the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. Schmidt is an entomologist who gets stung by everything and then writes about it. More about this on the Straight Dope. Schmidt wrote about these insects in 1986.
posted by jessamyn at 8:27 AM on October 3, 2013 [11 favorites]


I was hoping the Schmidt index would have a convenient graphic, like so.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:33 AM on October 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


So Schmidt is like the Jackass of entomology?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:53 AM on October 3, 2013


via @BitterOldPunk

So they're his fault! Burn the manwitch!


If a giant hornet lands on me, please, feel free to set me on fire. It'd be a service.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:14 AM on October 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Where is it winter, all the time? I'm going to move there, I think.

At night, the ice weasels come.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:15 AM on October 3, 2013 [12 favorites]




The size of these things seem to make them ideal for picking them off one by one from a safe distance* with a bb gun.


*loads up VATS*

Fucking Cazadores man
posted by The Whelk at 9:19 AM on October 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


The only reason I can even manage to do work in the Arlington Heights area today after that link about crazy death hornets spotted here is because it's pouring down rain, so I figure if I just knock this stuff out today I can move the hell on and work somewhere else tomorrow.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:27 AM on October 3, 2013


Fucking Cazadores man

Those bastards. After much effort to save it, my long-standing New Vegas character has been abandoned next to Lake Mead thanks to the nearby hordes of flying fuckers inevitably crashing the game.

It's kind of like Freddy Krueger or The Ring, when the nightmare bad guys are reaching into the real world and screwing things up.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:27 AM on October 3, 2013


"Time to link to that video of bees killing giant hornets by cooking them alive .

GO BEES GO SAVE US ALL
"

The enemy of my enem...crap, I have to like bees now??

I am not on board.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:27 AM on October 3, 2013


Human sized hamster balls with a tv inside. Someone make those. Get on it.
posted by FunkyHelix at 9:28 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


wow. a metafilter like to the arlington cardinal.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 9:48 AM on October 3, 2013


So Schmidt is like the Jackass of entomology?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:53 AM on October 3 [+] [!]


I'm sure we'll get to this on an episode of New Girl soon.
posted by mykescipark at 9:48 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Real question not ARGH RANT here but FOR SERIOUS what value to the ecosystem to these monstrous beasties have? They don't seem to do anything that any creature on earth would want. They are mean to bees, which is rude and unnecessary, they like to attack things and sting them, which is suboptimal for everyone, etc.

can we vote them off the island or not
posted by elizardbits at 10:02 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, the paper by Dr. Schmidt is rich: Actual venom yields per hornet for V. Tropica were not attainable, due to hurried and primitive conditions in the field. Because SCIENCE!

EDIT! Careful with that paper, triggers on Mouse lab testing
posted by joecacti at 10:03 AM on October 3, 2013


due to hurried and primitive conditions in the field

AKA due to the fact that everyone was screaming and running away.
posted by elizardbits at 10:04 AM on October 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


elizardbits: "They don't seem to do anything that any creature on earth would want."

Workers forage to feed their siblings. Their diet consists of a wide range of insects, including crop pests, and for this reason the hornets are regarded as beneficial. The workers dismember the bodies of their victims to return only the most nutrient-rich body parts, such as flight muscles, to the nest. There, the workers chew the prey into a paste before feeding the larvae who in return produce a fluid consumed by the workers. This fluid is known as vespa amino acid mixture (VAAM). The fluid enables intensive muscle activities over extended periods, allowing them to fly 100 kilometres (62 mi) per day and reach up to 40 kilometres per hour (25 mph). Synthetic VAAM is being produced artificially as a dietary supplement to increase athletic performance. In many Japanese mountain villages, the hornet is considered a delicacy when fried.

Granted, that's for the Japanese sub-species.
posted by jquinby at 10:12 AM on October 3, 2013


BEES!!!

I just never get tired of watching this.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:13 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The more you run, the more they want to chase you,"

I wonder if running downwind would work for losing them. I've found that the best way to escape various North American stinging creatures.

Of course, it's hard to think rationally + figure out where's downwind when you're running in a sheer adrenaline fuelled panic.
posted by mannequito at 10:21 AM on October 3, 2013


Maybe we should set a few loose at tea party HQ. Barricade the doors & say they can't come out until they negotiate something rational.
posted by yoga at 10:24 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Their diet consists of a wide range of insects, including crop pests, and for this reason the hornets are regarded as beneficial.

Hm, so their sole saving grace is that they eat bad bugs in addition to eating good bugs. And by eating these bugs the hornets become INFINITELY MORE POWERFUL.

nope i still wanna whack them with a newspaper.
posted by elizardbits at 10:28 AM on October 3, 2013


I certainly would not want to downplay the sheer visceral horror of giant killer hornets, which rest assured will haunt my dreams until I die. But as is noted in this report on the uptick of the death toll to 42, this is not just a ain't-nature-crazy story ...
As Xu Qifang, Ankang’s major, points out, massacring hornets comes with consequences. Since hornets prey on pests, a single nest can protect 330 hectares of cropland, Xu said. The local hornet population means farmers don’t have to use pesticides, says an anonymous Beijing scholar, which can hurt the land and endanger human health. They are also among the bee species that carry out 80% of the world’s pollination.

Shaanxi villagers link surging hornet populations with dramatic changes in local climate. Warmer weather increases hornet populations; it also makes them attack-prone. As property developers have razed Shaanxi’s forests, the number of birds—the only airborne creatures big enough to take out a giant hornet—has fallen.
The story also notes that poor farmers are obliged to carry on with the harvest to make their living amid the swarms, but lack the funds to properly protect themselves. I know it's been said a gazillion times, but climate change does not just mean warmer temperatures. It represents a dramatic disruption of every equilibrium we've come to expect and rely on -- for example, the delicate balance between pollinating giant hornets and farmers in Shaanxi.
posted by gompa at 10:32 AM on October 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


About the only saving grace these fuckers could have is if their venom turned out to have some incredible property of use to mankind ... But only until we're able to synthesize it. After that it's flamethrower time.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 10:43 AM on October 3, 2013


BEES!!!
NOT THE BEES!!!!
posted by byanyothername at 10:45 AM on October 3, 2013


says an anonymous Beijing scholar

come ON, this guy is probably a giant hornet who has learned how to type
posted by elizardbits at 10:53 AM on October 3, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'll just take my chances with the Shoggoths and Elder Things, thank you.

You think hornets are bad? Shoggoth stingers are... excessive... and each shoggoth can have as many as it likes. A shoggoth can sting you from 6 dimensions, causing pain that extends outward to three degrees of blood kinship.

Just sayin'
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:02 AM on October 3, 2013


Run to the hills.
Run for your life.
posted by stormpooper at 11:05 AM on October 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


It wasn't enough to have to be on guard against toxic hallucinogenic pet-killing toads, was it?

Though that makes me wonder: would the cane toad or the giant hornet win?
posted by cmyk at 11:06 AM on October 3, 2013


Lady, I don't know how to tell you this, but that's no bee.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:41 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that, ironically, Australia is safe from these.
posted by Quilford at 6:41 AM on October 3 [6 favorites +] [!]

*preens smugly*

*rolls over and snuggles down safely in antipodean bed*
posted by Salamander at 12:31 PM on October 3, 2013


wenestvedt: "Jesus, this is worse than that spider bite thread from a few weeks ago -- and that skeeved me out for days"

You guys remember when I was fucking with you in that post? I'm very, very sorry and I take it all back. Now please make it so that I don't think a giant hornet is attacking me every time something brushes against my skin.
posted by double block and bleed at 1:25 PM on October 3, 2013


The size of these things seem to make them ideal for picking them off one by one from a safe distance* with a bb gun.

Think bigger.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXec7zBaPxA
posted by walrus at 2:00 PM on October 3, 2013


And ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_Bo2ro60ro
posted by walrus at 2:00 PM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Drone warfare.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:08 PM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not so sure about this whole globalization thing guys


I mean first gangnam style now this
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:26 PM on October 3, 2013


I mean first gangnam style now this

Another true science fact: the more you run, the faster PSY dances!
posted by Celsius1414 at 4:10 PM on October 3, 2013


Like Chomarui and Ghidorah, I see these around now and then. Not sure why there are these massive attacks and fatalities in China. These giant hornets buzz around and they are scary looking, but they usually fly away. I've never been stung--even when I destroyed a nest of them.

This was more than a few years back when I was living in a crappy old apartment building in Nagoya. It was crumbling, but had a really nice balcony and lots of greenery nearby. Perfect hornet hangout. Giant biting centipedes too, but that's a different story.

So, I noticed some hornets buzzing around. I'm pretty sure they were the same thing. They were huge and stripy! Then, I noticed the grapefruit-size nest tucked inside the corner of the concrete roof over the balcony. I waited until evening, got my giant jet-can of all purpose bug killer. (Something everyone in Japan needs.) Opened the slider a crack and let 'em have it. They went apeshit and I shut the door. A while later after everything settled down, I hit 'em again. I think I did this a few times and then there were lots of dead bugs. Figured I was all set. Nope, next day the nest was all active again.

So, I thought I'd improvise. I got a bug bomb like for roaches. Propped it up under the nest and let it rip. Not very effective.

So, new can of super jet bug killer. Got out my leather jacket, scarf, full face helmet, duct-taped the sleeves to my gloves and cuffs to boots, and got right up close with the can of poison. Hosed it down good. Laid down covering fire all over and ran back in the sliding door to my kitchen. Mission accomplished.

Nope. Next day, they were back. WTF?

Turns out the grapefruit sized nest inside my balcony was just an offshoot and the giant fucking nest from hell that was on the outside, and they had tunneled through a crack in the concrete or something and added an annex on the inside.

More improvised beekeeper suit, two cans of super jet spray bug destroyer, and the menace was destroyed. I told some friends about it. They freaked out and I found out how lucky I was and that I really should have called the professionals.

But the point is, they were aggressive under stress, but I'm also not dead. What the hell is going on in Shaanxi?
posted by Gotanda at 4:31 PM on October 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


At my house (in Japan) there was a wasps nest with about 20 wasps (maybe cicada killers - similar size/color) under the overhang of the storage shed roof. Then last year I woke up and found one or two wasps in the house. Didn't think much of it, but then noticed about 10 of them bunched up in the corner of my doorway. At first I thought they were trying to build a nest there, but then I looked at their old nest, and it was being terrorized by two of the Japanese variety giant hornets. They had already killed or chased off any of the wasps that had tried protecting the nest, and were eating all the larvae babies! 2 vs. 20, but the 2 giants were completely dominating. Scary shit.

They don't usually mess with people, but apparently in the fall they become more aggressive and dark colors piss them off, so a lot of people recommend white/light hats this time of year.
posted by p3t3 at 4:37 PM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I knew the Hunger Games were our future but I figured it'd be the part with the cruel totalitarian regime and the propaganda and extreme social inequality, not the part with the fucking hornets.

I think we all need to move away from the false dichotomies of either/or thinking, and realize that it's both/and.
posted by nubs at 5:58 PM on October 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Giant biting centipedes

what the everliving fuck NO NO NOOOOOOO
posted by desjardins at 6:00 PM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


In visiting one or another of the youtube links in this thread I stumbled on a find -- I did not know this tip about soapy water - it may not work against apocalyptic wasps, but it looks like it is a good trick for the garden variety. Just soap and water - no chemicals.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:03 PM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, Giant Sparrow Wasps! I just learned what these were last summer.

I was having lunch in a garden near my office and I saw this giant wasp on the ground all of a sudden. I was immediately frightened, but since he was moving slowly I returned to my seat and watched him for a bit, and he carried on a curious routine: he'd walk over to a supported, tall plant, climb up to a leaf about a foot off the ground, begin to flutter his wings, and then fall to the ground. He repeated this a few times, eventually wandering back on to the footpath and moving slowly. Since he didn't seem able to fly I took some pictures.

Only after I returned to the office and asked my coworkers what this thing I'd photographed was - and noted their incredulous expressions and Wikipedia's notes - did I realize what I'd run into.

And then the next week there was one on the outside of the bathroom window, which was surprising since it's on the eleventh floor.
posted by 23 at 7:00 PM on October 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Did I mention the awamori? The okinawan firewater? Sure, from time to time, they put poisonous snakes in the bottle for that little kick. If you find the right (or very, very wrong) bar, they'll have a bottle stuffed with these hornets. Be glad I couldn't find a picture. Very, very glad.

Don't worry, Ghidorah, I found some!
posted by 23 at 7:04 PM on October 3, 2013


I did not know this tip about soapy water - it may not work against apocalyptic wasps, but it looks like it is a good trick for the garden variety. Just soap and water - no chemicals.

Wow, that 2nd one is particularly convincing. The first thing the CDC needs to do when the shutdown is over is fund an experiment to see if soapy water will kill Asian giant hornets as well as it kills smaller ones.
posted by mediareport at 7:31 PM on October 3, 2013


walrus: "And ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_Bo2ro60ro
"

Damn, that felt really good to watch.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 9:08 PM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gotanda, yeah, you probably should've called Duskin. That's what they do, and they're pretty good at it (well, they also do just about anything a handyman could do). My neighbor called them, and it was like watching a surgical strike. The thing is, I'd noticed the nest because of a BBQ I had. There were a couple of those things buzzing us, which was pretty unpleasant. I looked around my house, then over at his house. There was a nest about the size of an apple hanging down. I told him, and the next day, the Duskin man was there in a hazmat suit.

The larger a bug gets, the more squeamish I get about killing it. The most you'll get from smashing a mosquito is a body and maybe a smidge of blood. A cockroach? You're looking at goo, and probably some eggs (ewww). Something as big as a tarantula (yeah, not a bug, still, if it's in the house, it's gotta die) or one of these wasps, full grown? The goo, the resistance to the crushing, I feel a bit of nausea just thinking about it.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:42 PM on October 3, 2013


I will be posting these images/links everywhere where I find people questioning the value of crewed space exploration.
posted by Sauce Trough at 12:19 AM on October 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am already irrationally afraid of hornets/wasps because I fear that I'm allergic to stings and will literally die if stung. I have no idea whether or not I'm allergic.

Now that I live in China, and these hornets might actually find and kill me, my fear feels more rational. I could at least laugh at myself when it was irrational!
posted by sarae at 5:16 AM on October 4, 2013


sarae, just to pile on, on my last day in China, I happened to see a small black scorpion caught in a spider web. That's how I found out that I had been living in a city that had a) scorpions and b) spiders capable of eating scorpions. I was much more okay with getting on the plane after that.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:28 AM on October 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hmmm. I`m sceptical about sensational stories from Chinese media. I`m even more sceptical about reports of giant wasps in countries where people can`t tell the difference between a mosquito and a crane fly, or between a cidada killer/sawfly and a wasp.
posted by sneebler at 9:56 AM on October 5, 2013


I'm also skeptical about Chinese media, but I usually expect them to downplay the dangers and the numbers of dead/injured.
posted by MsDaniB at 8:30 PM on October 6, 2013


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