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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Deadly hornet attacks on rise in China

At least 28 people have been killed by swarms of Giant Asian Hornets in China this summer, with hundreds being sent to hospitals. The insects, which have for years menaced rural populations in the region, have been particularly violent this year. Scientists are not 100% certain as to why, although they speculate that the unusually hot summer has caused in influx in breeding.

Giant Asian Hornet
Hornets are considered some of the most toxic insects on the planet, with as little as ten stings potentially being fatal to a healthy, allergy-free individual. Carnivorous in nature, they are one of the primary predators for bees, capable of wiping out whole colonies; since bees are regarded as critical to the cycle of life on Earth, the rise in hornet populations is causing grave concerns amongst many researchers.

Authority in China is taking whatever measures it can to assist the afflicted (including covering medical costs for impoverished victims), although they admit they are limited in fighting the hornets themselves. They assure citizens that the arrival of winter temperatures should bring a halt to the attacks, but until then everyone involved is at the mercy of the massive swarms.

If left untreated hornet stings can cause anaphylactic shock and renal failure in human victims. Doctors recommend seeking medical attention as quickly as possible if an individual is stung, especially if allergic to the insect's poison.

Photo: Joe Carey, via Wikipedia.

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