Ever heard of the phrase “to stir up a hornet’s nest”??
Usually used to denote an action leading to undesirable and grave consequences the phrase stands true to itself. Indeed the hornets are scary and dangerous creatures and you sure don’t want to stir up their nest!!
The Asian Giant Hornets are the larger breed of wasps that are eusocial in nature much similar to bees, ants and termites. There are plenty of varieties of hornets, and some of them are known for their venomous stings. The most feared among them is the deadly Asian giant hornet which has the most venomous sting of all insects. This species is native of the tropics and can be found in numbers especially in eastern Asia. The Asian giant hornet – Vespa mandarinia is the world’s largest hornet, native to temperate and tropical Eastern Asia. It can be found in some regions of Russia, Korea, Indochina, Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka, but is most common in rural areas of Japan, where it is called giant sparrow bee. These hornets are aggressive and fearless which spells doom for their victims!
Their hierarchy is based on their ability to reproduce and hence is divided as the reproductive queens and sterile soldiers and workers. The average adult Asian hornet soldier or worker grows up to 4.5 cm and the queen about 5.5 cm in length. The wing span is about 76 mm and its 6 mm sting helps in injecting venom into the body of its prey. It has a wide head when compared to the other vespain species. The stinger of the Asian Giant Hornet is 1/4 inch long and because it has no barb, the Asian Giant Hornet is able to sting its victims multiple times.
The venom injected by the stinger is incredibly potent and contains eight different chemicals, each with a specific purpose. These range from tissue degeneration and breathing difficulties, to making the sting more painful and even attracting other hornets to the victim. Their venom contains a neurotoxin called mandaratoxin (MDTX), a single-chain polypeptide with a molecular weight of approximately 20,000 amu, which can be lethal even to people who are not allergic if the dose is sufficient. Being stung by one according to some accounts feels a lot like having a hot nail hammered into you!!
The Japanese giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica) is a subspecies of the Asian giant hornet (V. mandarinia). It is a large insect and adults can be more than 4 cm (1.6 in) long, with a wingspan greater than 6 cm (2.4 in). It has a large yellow head with large eyes, and a dark brown thorax with an abdomen banded in brown and yellow. They are nicknamed as “Yak killers” precisely because they’re capable of doing it! The Japanese Asian Hornet is the ultimate killer insect of Japan, responsible for 20 to 40 human deaths each year. As was reported by Japan Today on 27th September, 2010; 8 policemen were attacked by these hornets in a park while they were on duty.
The prime food of the Asian giant hornet is bees!! They love to feast on bees and other pollinators. The attack is carried out in a wonderful manner – two or three soldier hornets cautiously approach an identified nest while giving off pheromones. Pheromones attract the other hornets from the nest and together they attack the bee colony. Such synchronized attacks can completely devastate a honey bee colony as the bees stand no chance against these venomous creatures. Asian giant hornets in spite of being bee attackers never feed on them. Fact remains that they cannot digest solid protein. They never can feed on their prey – instead they attack large insects, chew on them and feed them to their larvae. The adult soldiers feed on an amino acid mixture that is secreted by the larvae. This clear liquid is the diet for these humongous hornets. Vespa Amino acid is strong in nutrients which help in keeping up the required nourishment for these large sized bugs. The saliva produced by the larvae of the Asian Giant Hornet is said to give them their renowned energy and stamina when consumed by the adult hornets on a regular basis. When chasing their prey, they have been reported travelling distances of up to 60 miles, at a top speed of 25 mph.
Interesting facts about these hornets:
- Asian Killer Hornets are five times the size of European Honey Bees!
- A single Asian hornet is capable of killing 40 honey bees within a minute!
- 30 Asian giant hornets destroying the hives of 30k bees within 3 hrs time!
In the recent times the Asian giant hornet is said to have made its way to Britain where it is threatening the population of the European honey bees as these honey bees don’t stand a chance against the deadly hornets. Considering that the prime victims of these hornet attacks are our most important pollinators i.e. bees, the mayhem that they cause needs to be controlled!
C Tech Corporation has with the aid of green technology and great vision, designed the product Termirepel™ that can aid in the protection of honey bees from these vicious hornets. Termirepel ™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous insect and pest aversive. Basically designed to combat termites, it works effectively against a multitude of other insects including wasps and hornets.
Termirepel™ works by the mechanism of repellence by virtue of which it does not allow the insect/pest to come near the application and thus it negates the possibility of an infestation. Moreover it is available in the form of polymer compatible masterbatches as well as in lacquer form to be applied on wood and other furniture. Thus it is easy to apply and safe to use. Also since it is non-toxic it will not cause any harm to the non-target species like bees.