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The poison of the hornet: how dangerous it is for man and what it consists of

Каждый шершень обладает своим особенным ядом, состоящим из нескольких нейротоксинов, поэтому укусы их не только болезненны, но и чрезвычайно опасны.

Poison hornet - one of the most powerful among the poisons of insects in general. However, the strength of the poison and the consequences of its entry into the human body depend to a large extent on the species of the hornet.

With complete certainty it can be said that every hornet is poisonous, because has a sting associated with the gland producing a whole set of toxins. And each specific species has its own, specific poison.

For example, the bite of an ordinary European hornet, which is most often encountered by summer residents, beekeepers and agricultural workers, differs little in morbidity and consequences from the bite of a honey bee or an ordinary paper wasp.

Укус европейского шершня можно сравнить с укусом обычной пчелы или осы

At the same time, the bite of the giant Asian hornet is extremely painful and can lead to death in especially severe cases.

А вот укусы представленного на фото гигантского азиатского шершня настолько опасны, что могут в отдельных случаях быстро приводить к летальному исходу.

It is interesting

According to a specially developed system for assessing the force of stinging developed by American researcher Justin Schmidt, bites of large hornets received a mark of 4, along with bites of large road wasps. More than their bites only South American ant-bullet - on the scale of Schmidt, his bite pulls 4+.

Despite the fact that the hornet is poisonous, it rarely uses its poison when hunting: it does not like to spend unnecessarily a valuable remedy for this insect, and uses powerful jaws to kill various forage arthropods. The exception is a large and solid prey - in this case a wasp can apply poison.

In general, the hornet prefers to let its toxin into action only for self-defense or nest defense. Nevertheless, if it so happens that someone has entered the personal space of a hornet, it is worthwhile to be prepared for any outcome.

Danger of hornet's poison: the reaction of the human body to it

Now let's look into the action that toxic hornets have on the human body. The hornet's poison is dangerous in the first place because it contains a lot of lytic components, leading to the disintegration of cells at the site of the bite. This explains the instant appearance of edema and inflammation. Sometimes poison entering the tissue can cause the formation of an abscess.

Вследствие укуса азиатского шершня в поврежденном месте может мгновенно развиваться отек, воспаление и даже отмирание тканей.

If a person has undergone numerous bites, not only the skin cells but also the walls of the blood vessels are damaged, which leads to local hemorrhages. In special cases, this causes damage to the internal organs, and if you do not consult a doctor in time, you can wait for the development of necrotic tissue damage.


"That day I just worked in my garden and sat down on a bump of grass under a tree. It turned out that there was a bee-sparrow (the local name of a giant Asian hornet). She stung me in the buttocks, but it seemed to me as if I had sat on a hot nail. I do not remember well what I felt afterwards. I ran home, but before it was about half a kilometer, and every step was given in the back of a strong pain. I only managed to cross the river and fell already on the road. Probably, they picked me up. In myself, I came only in the hospital. I had a large swelling, swollen polspiny, I was constantly pricked with anesthetic and antipyretic. The pain was still so strong that I could not lie anywhere except on my stomach. "

So Young, Thaybin

In addition to the already listed consequences, the poison of large hornets causes headaches, palpitation, increased body temperature. These symptoms are often amplified by an allergic reaction, leading in severe cases to anaphylactic shock. Another type of reaction of the body to the poison of the hornet may be shortness of breath, which appears due to an increase in lymphatic vessels.

It should be noted that, without the complications described above, the hornet's poison exerts a strong influence on the nerve endings, causing sharp pain in the person stung by the poisonous insects. In some cases, it itself can lead to a shock state.

На фотографии показаны следы от многочисленных укусов шершней

Despite the suffering caused to a person, a hornet for one bite injects into the wound very little poison - no more than 0.5 mg, then removes the sting. This hornets and other wasps are different from bees, which leave their weapons in the enemy's body along with part of the intestine, thus dooming themselves to death.

Хотя шершень впрыскивает в ранку не так уж много яда, его укусы более болезненны и опасны, нежели укусы пчел.

В отличие от шершня, во время укуса пчела оставляет свое жало в теле человека и обрекает себя на гибель.

Жало пчелы с частью ее внутренних органов, оставленное в коже человека

Poisonous hornets can sting victims and enemies many times, but the bee, when stung, leaves more poison in the wound. It is not surprising that an ordinary European hornet and almost a half times smaller bee sting approximately the same.

Хотя шершни оставляют в ранке меньше яда, чем обычная пчела, зато они способны жалить многократно


"All the stories about poisonous hornets - fairy tales. Well, they are big, well, sting. But not more painful than bees. And in general, they are very peaceful insects. One year I worked as an under guard in the apiary, so the bees actually ate every day. And the next year right on the shed houses hornets built a nest, so only one bit me for all the time. I will not say that the bite is different from the bite of a bee. "

Ivan, Trofimovo

A little chemistry: what is the poison of?

The action that the hornete exerts is due to its composition. The hornet is poisonous because of the combination of several neurotoxins, substances that excite nerve endings, and also membrane-dissolving cells. That is why the result of a bite leads to a complex defeat of different organ systems.

Яд шершня действует на человека таким образом, что после укуса может наблюдаться не только отек тканей, но и нарушаться работа различных органов.

The main active components of hornet's poison are:

  • Phospholipase A2 - an indispensable component of poisons snakes, bees and wasps. It leads to the dissolution of the components of the cell membranes, the release of their contents into the intercellular space and the development of an inflammatory reaction.
  • Orientotoxin is a poison with a similar effect, also affecting cell membranes.
  • Acetylcholine, which activates directly the nerve endings and causes severe pain.
  • Histamine, which increases the pain effect and causes the immune response of the body in the form of an allergic reaction.
  • Mastoparan is a specific peptide, contained in large quantities in the hornfish venom, causing the release of histamine from mast cells by the type of chain reaction. It is not surprising that hornets bites are so allergenic and so easily lead to anaphylactic shock.

Several more components, included in the horns' poison, strengthen the local tissue reaction and lead to rapidly spreading general toxicity effects. It is worth noting that in some cases, the hornet's poison can lead to kidney failure.

The most poisonous hornet

The most poisonous hornets in the world are representatives of the species Asian giant hornet and its various subspecies. These wasps have a length of up to 5.5 cm, the wingspan is up to 6 cm, and several dozen people die each year from their bites. After stinging giant Asian hornets, swelling with inflammation develops rapidly, multiple spreading symptoms manifest, anaphylactic shock often occurs.

Укус гигантского азиатского шершня способен приводить к анафилактическому шоку

Often, when giant poisonous hornets protect the nest by attacking a person by a group, their victims may have hemorrhages to the internal organs and numerous necrotic tissue lesions.


"Two months ago, a patient who was bitten by more than twenty hornets was discharged from our hospital. His kidneys were broken, serious intoxication occurred, the most bitten hand was enlarged to monstrous size, and his throat swelled, and for normal breathing, he had to insert the catheter into the respiratory tract. On the fingers of a sick hand, he began to necrosis, and the little finger had to be amputated. "

Homi Niyashi, Kochi

It is possible to note a certain dependence of the hornets' toxicity not only on their size, but also on the characteristics of their behavior. So, for example, hornets, inhabiting our country, are small and do not represent a serious danger. In addition, "our" hornets - insects are relatively peaceful; even in pursuit they prefer not to attack, sting only when catching or protecting the nest.

В отличие от европейского, японский шершень гораздо более агрессивен по отношению к человеку, особенно при защите гнезда.

In contrast to the European, the Japanese hornet , which is about the same size, is aggressive and has a habit of attacking the group. As a consequence, encounters with these poisonous hornets are more dangerous than even the bites of individual individuals of giant relatives.

Is the poison of the hornets useful and can it be bought?

Unlike such a valuable bee, the poison of the hornet does not benefit. It does not contain those components for which bee poison is so revered, therefore, no experimental methods of treatment based on it are known on its basis.

In addition, to extract the poison of hornets is much more difficult than bee. Not surprisingly, in the countries of Southeast Asia, where even such exotic products are still used in folk medicine, the price of hornet's poison is fabulously high.

It is almost impossible to find out the price of the poison of this insect through official sources, since this market is closed for "not their own". If someone from the uninitiated specifically asks the question of buying the poison of the hornet, it is most likely to receive a fake, the price of which will be very different from reality.

In general, no matter how poisonous the hornets are, treat them as neighbors, which need to be reckoned with. When they do not occupy a dwelling and do not settle next to the apiary, these insects will not harm harm and will not attack anyone with proper behavior.

If, however, you are in a situation where you bitten by an insect, supposedly hornet, it is worth immediately seeking medical help.

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:

To the record "Poison of a hornet: how dangerous it is for a human being and what it consists of" left 2 comments.
  1. Yaroslav :

    When I saw the hornet, I froze.

  2. Louise :

    Hornets nest in the attic of a village house, in our Tver region. They do not interfere much with anything, but the problem is that they fly from the attic to the passage, and to the light they can fly into the house. The nests were removed several times from the attic, although they do not use the old ones, but they make new ones nearby, which is extremely unpleasant.

    They do not sting specifically, but my Ma was repeatedly stung in the soles of her feet, since she walks barefoot in the summer, and they can crawl quietly on the floor. In general, in such proximity they still cause a shiver and a negative reaction, so we almost every year have to get rid of them, but on the site they fly, and there we do not touch them. Again - on the site there is no wasps.

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