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Giant Asian hornet Vespa Mandarinia

Узнаем подробности об одном из самых опасных насекомых в мире - азиатском шершне Vespa Mandarinia

Among all Asian insects hornet Vespa Mandarinia is one of the most famous. This is not surprising, if only because the huge size makes it extremely noticeable: a huge wasp with a body length of 5 cm and a wingspan of up to 6 cm somehow attracts the attention of a tourist or traveler by itself. No wonder in Asian countries this insect is called a bee-sparrow - for impressive size.

В азиатских странах шершня Vespa Mandarinia называют пчелой-воробьем за большие размеры

However, the Asian hornet has one more popular name - a bee-tiger it is called for extremely painful bites. The locals, in contrast to the enthusiastic reviews of tourists, the hornet Vespa Mandarinia, got rather bad reputation: his bite is deadly, especially for a person with a heightened sensitivity to the poisons of insects. If several giants attack at the same time, they can easily bite or maim almost any person to death.

Among other things, the Asian giant hornet is a thunderstorm of all honey bees, therefore, the beekeepers of Thailand, India and Japan regularly suffer serious damage from the invasions of these predators.

Гигантский азиатский шершень - серьезная угроза для пасечников

It is interesting

Hornet Vespa Mandarin - one of 23 species of the genus Hornet, which includes, among other things, ordinary European relatives. The size of this insect is just a simple anatomical adaptation to a hot climate (large animals are easier to tolerate high temperatures, since they have a large surface to release heat to the environment). In addition, due to the size of this giant can count on a large number of potential victims, even comparable to it in size. In other respects, the huge Asian hornet is very similar to its other relatives.

As for Russians, the hornet of Vespa Mandarinia interests us mainly as one of the dangers that can be trapped in travels through the exotic Asian region. Therefore, information about what looks like a giant Asian hornet, as well as how to avoid its bites will never be superfluous.

Distinctive features of a wasp-tiger

Asian hornets-killers body shape and general color tones are generally similar to ordinary hornets: they are also yellow in black stripes. Nevertheless, individual details of the coloring still distinguish them from each other.

Шершень обыкновенный (европейский)

So, if the hornet of Vespa Crabro, better known as the European one, has thin enough black bandages on a yellow body and a dark red head, then the hornet of Vespa Mandarinia is characterized by much thicker and more expressive black bands on the body, and also with a yellow head.

Также шершень Vespa Mandarinia отличается от обычного более выраженными полосками на брюшке

Visually, it is the head of a light color with two large eyes that attracts attention most of all.

The video shows Asian hornets caught in a sticky trap:

Interestingly, the giant Vespa Mandarinia between the two major large eyes has three small subordinate eyes. These additional visual organs help the hornet distinguish between dark and light and orientate in space.

In the photo - hornet Asian full-face. His additional eyes are clearly visible:

На фото хорошо можно разглядеть три дополнительных глаза на голове насекомого

Главной отличительной чертой шершня Vespa Mandarinia является его огромный размер

And yet, the main distinguishing feature of the giant hornet, which makes it possible to distinguish this insect among other relatives, is, of course, its size. With its straightened wings, it almost covers the palm of a man, so at the first meeting it seems not quite real, but as if done deliberately unnaturally large. Such dimensions help the hornet in the first place to extract food that is inaccessible to smaller relatives.

Lifestyle and food giant Asian hornet

The Asian giant hornet leads the same way of life as all the other representatives of the genus Vespa.

Hornets live in paper nests, made from chewed pieces of young bark of trees, fastened with a sticky salivary secret. The female founder is starting a new family, which at the beginning of the warm season simply lays several eggs in the place where the nest will grow in the future.

Свои гнезда гигантские азиатские шершни строят из пережеванных кусочков древесной коры

At first, the female itself produces food for the larvae, cares for and cares for them. However, just one month after the eggs are laid, young hornets are removed from them, which in turn take care of all the feeding of new larvae and protection of the family. The uterus severely limits its role - it continues to lay its eggs until the end of life.

In nutrition, the hornet of Vespa Mandarinia is uncomfortable: the basis of its diet is made up of a variety of insects. The huge Asian hornet will also not mind eating meat or fish, fruit and berries thrown ashore. Unlike adults, larvae are fed exclusively by animal food, however, this feature is typical for all other hornets of the genus Vespa.

Шершень уносит мелких насекомых в свое гнездо для кормления личинок

It is interesting

For the extraction of food, hornets almost never use their poisonous sting. They kill other insects with powerful jaws, which literally crumble the chitinous covers of their victims.

The largest hornet in the world is widely distributed: it occurs throughout Southeast Asia and reaches the Russian Primorye, where it is fairly common and numerous.

It is worth noting that the species Vespa Mandarinia at different points of its range is divided into several subspecies. So, in Japan, for example, the subspecies Japanese giant hornet , endemic only for the island territories.

Шершень Vespa Mandarinia Japonica

In general, hornets of this species are common in different biotopes, but most of all they prefer forests and various light groves. Thus, to meet the Asian hornet in the highlands, steppe and desert areas will not work.

Venus Vespa Mandarinia and its effect on humans

The Asian giant hornet is very toxic: its poison is considered one of the most toxic among all insects in general. However, due to the fact that this huge predator does not infect the entire stock of the poison with a bite, in general, the bite of the Asian hornet is extremely painful, but for a healthy person with a normally functioning immune system, there is no mortal danger.

On a note

Every year, about 40 people die from the bites of giant hornets in Japan. Thus, the hornets here set a kind of anti-record - such indicators can not "boast" any other wild animal.

Photo of sting of Asian hornet:

Укусы шершней Vespa Mandarinia не только болезненны, но и чрезвычайно опасны

Due to the presence of several protein toxins in the poison of hornets, its entry into soft tissues immediately activates the lysis of the cells, which is accompanied by instant swelling and inflammation. The presence in the venom of histamine and acetylcholine - substances that provide the emergence of an immediate immune response and the transmission of neuromuscular reactions - causes a sharp pain effect, sometimes accompanied by shock in the victim.


"After the bite of the hornet, I lay in the hospital for three weeks. I had a huge swelling all the way, I could not move my hand. The bite itself is simply monstrous - as if a drill is drilled into the body with a drill. When the insect bit me, I barely managed to reach the house and fainted. My wife already called doctors. And one of my acquaintances died a year ago from attacking hornets. "

Tai Won Xing, Jirin

Quite a typical response of the body to the bite of hornet is the extensive tissue edema, which has already been mentioned above, increased heart rate, headaches and fever.

Первым ответом организма на ужаливание является обширный тканевый отек

However, in humans, sensitive to insect toxins, even one bite of a giant hornet can cause anaphylactic shock and death. If there were numerous bites, then in this case, even for a healthy person, an attack is fraught with tissue necrosis, extensive hemorrhage and damage to the internal organs.

Reproduction of giant hornet

Now let's look at how the Vespa Mandarinia hornet continues in the genus. Here you can highlight a few key points.

  1. The family of giant hornets exists no more than one year.
  2. When the housing of these huge wasps grows to a decent size, and the working individuals themselves become sufficiently large, the uterus begins to lay eggs, from which the reproductive males and females are excreted.
  3. At a certain moment, these mature individuals swarm and mate, after which young males die, and females search for themselves secluded shelters and remain in them until the spring.
  4. By the rainy season (and in the Primorye region - to winter), the old family completely dies, as the uterus ceases to lay new eggs.

It is worth noting that sometimes all Vespa's hornets do not survive until the time of natural death, as they die from mites or infections.

Disaster for man or the beautification of nature?

In a global sense, giant Asian hornets, of course, are dangerous for humans, but this danger is not critical, since it is entirely provoked by the person himself. These insects are by nature not very aggressive, they will attack only in self-defense or nest protection.

Все-таки, если шершня не провоцировать, он не проявляет откровенной агрессии к человеку

Significantly greater harm to hornets is caused by apiaries, especially those on which less aggressive European honey bees are bred. Sometimes hornets have time to destroy a whole bee family in a few hours, and so local beekeepers conduct an ongoing systematic struggle with them.

Азиатские шершни с легкостью уничтожают целые семьи медоносных европейских пчел

In general, the mortality from the bites of giant hornets is quite high: in some regions, up to 100 people per year die. But it's fair to say that most of the dead are the same beekeepers who, without special protective equipment, actively destroy the hornets' nests and, as a result, fall under their massive attacks.

A simple tourist who happened to be in the forest next to the hornet of Vespa Mandarinia, you should not be afraid of this insect - it will not attack without cause.

On a note

In the West, in many dietary supplements add synthetic substances, similar to the secret contained in developing hornet larvae. It is believed that these components increase the endurance of a person. However, there are no experimental proofs of these assertions.

In conclusion, it should be noted that for wildlife giant hornets are one of the most active natural orderlies. They successfully destroy many pests of forest and agriculture, therefore in most biocenoses - including on agricultural lands - they are useful and deserve protection.

If you decide to deal with hornets or wasps yourself, then we recommend using only proven in practice tools that have shown their high efficiency:

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