No I'm not making any witty reference to any particular commercial airline company, I'm talking about Vespa Mandarinia
, or 雀蜂 suzumebachi
, the giant asian hornet.
In a way, these things are beautiful. I guess they're to other insects what the aliens from the movie 'Alien' are to humans. They're an evolved, perfect killing machine. Okay, so they don't bleed green acid, but they're still pretty damn lethal.
They sting. Yes, they have a huge stinger, at some 6mm long. And they're not like wasps; it's not just a one-sting deal. They can keep stinging and stinging. Oh, but it doesn't stop there. Their sting has more venom than bees or wasps, and contains some 8 seperate chemicals. Most of which just cause pain and destory tissue, but they have one that also attracts other hornets in the area to sting you too. In fact, some brands of perfume use a similar chemical, so don't go wearing that near hornet nests!
The sting can be very fatal! If it's your first time being stung, it'll probably just feel like a red hot nail being pressed into your skin. If it's your second time, it could be very fatal. It can cause a severe allergic reaction. Don't get me wrong; people die on the first sting sometimes, and sometimes they don't die.
So who would win in a fight? Honey bee or a hornets? It's no contest. As little as 30 hornets can wipe out some 30,000 honey bees in a few hours. Hornets usually sting to kill, they use their mandibles to decapitate bees at a rate of up to 40 a minute. European honey bees launch individual attacks, so they usually get owned one-by-one until there's noone left to defend the hive. When that happens, it's easy pickings for the hornets.
But all hope is not lost! The Japanese honey bee has a plan! The Japanese honey bee is a strangely smart variety. When a hornet scout comes to scope out the possible target, the honey bees let them right inside the hive, and then spring it. But there's little they can physically do against the much larger hornet, so hundreds of the bees swarm the scout. From here they heat up to the limits that their bodies can endure, around 47 degrees, a tad too hot for the hornets to handle, literally cooking them. The scout will never make it back home.
They can fly some 95 kilometres a day (and up to 40km/hour), so good luck escaping one of these armored war machines. The Japanese variety also packs the most poison compared to the other similar varieties of the hornet. Also, the adults can't directly creak down protein, rather, they chew up the bodies of their prey and feed them to their young, which in turn produce a liquid that feeds the adult. It's like steroids for hornets and apparently it's been synthesized as an ingredient in Japanese sports drinks. Huh!
These things freak me out. If I were to be born again as any insect, it'd be one of these. You're most likely to find them in more mountainous regions in Autumn, or "Hornet season."★UPDATE★ Check out this TV in Japan clip