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Asian Giant Hornet: An Actual “Murder Hornet” Or Not?

Asian Giant Hornet: An Actual “Murder Hornet” Or Not?


Trends are witnesses of Asian Giant Hornet being tagged as “Murder Hornet” since 2019-20, when this highly painful venomous insect was found in Northwest Washington, America. (2 of them, people–2 Asian Giant Hornets were spotted). But are they actually murderous?

Get ready to befriend highly aggressive species of Hornets, right from the Asian Lands, Asian Giant Hornet:

1. Asian Giant Hornet is scientifically known as (V. or) Vespa mandarinia (binomial name). These are also known as Japanese Giant Hornets.

2. As the colloquial name suggests, these insects are native to Moderate (Tropical North) Regions. South-Eastern Asia and parts of Russia are home to these. Low ranges, shaded spaces and high altitudes are preferable environments for these insects.

3. Like many other wasps and bees, they like to make hives and protect their queen. Their nests can be found in rodent tunnels, underground, hollow barks, rotten roots of pine, shaded urban spaces and other shaded/protected spaces.

4. Head: Light Orange. Antennae: Brown, Yellow-Orange (Base). Eyes: Dark Brown/Black (Ocelli, Large Compound Eyes). Wings: Grey. Mid and Hind Legs: Dark Brown, Forelegs: Bright (Dark on joints/base). (Overall Thorax: Dark Brown).

5. Different from other Hornets: It has a clearer clypeus, that is, tough-flexible non-mineral plate in front of the insect’s head and a large, orange jaw (mandible) with a black tooth to dig/burrow.

6. Gaster Abdomen (below the petiole or say, “waist”): altering bands of dark brown/black and orange-yellow (like its head) and last (6th part), completely yellow.

  1. Let’s discuss sizes (inches/centimeters)!

Wingspan: 1.37 to 3 / 3.47 to 7.6 (or more)

Queen’s body length: 2 / 5 (or more)

Workers body length: 1.37-1.57 / 3.5 to 3.9 cm

Stinger: 0.09 / 0.23 (1/4)

Drones (male) body length: up to 1.49 / 3.8 (similar to females but lack stinger)

  1. Stinger of Asian Giant Hornets
  • 0.23in (0.6cm). Venomous.
  • Males contain lesser potent venom. Females have something called “ovipositor,” due to which they are more dangerous.
  • If hundreds of Asian Giant Hornet Wasps sting a human, then it can kill you.
  • The sting can be repetitive (up to 10 times) and painful. It consists of various chemicals that can affect blood molecules, kidneys and nerve impulses, leading to “renal failure.”
  • Chemicals: acetylcholine and histamine (cause pain, swelling), kinins (dilate blood vessels), mastoparan (not present in a bee sting), phospholipase (dissolve immune cells and spur widespread inflammation), a different neurotoxin that blocks nerve impulses.
  • Sting by these Giant Hornets can rupture the tissues (blood and muscle cells) of the largest of mammals!

9. Asian Giant Hornets are omnivorous and feed on many things (like many other wasps), but their fav remains colonies of bees. This species also likes to chew on other insects, human foods, plants etc.

See Also

  1. “Why Asian Giant Hornets so rude? Like 30 to 50 deaths per year (Japan) due to them…! Like? Why so venomous?”

Well, they are “aadat se majboor.” Researchers have found that these wasps are not “murderers” until and unless disturbed or bothered by any human.

11. Asian Giant Hornets are actually “aggressively defended” of their nests and homes. In any case, when done with their life’s work (to build/protect nests and feed & develop younger/next generation), most wasps tend to turn aggressive as they become old and free.

12. They either die as the winter season arrives or hunt for food (wander), awaiting death. Interestingly, Queen Wasps live for a year (they have more months to their life than workers/smaller wasps).

‘It’s hilarious that now worker wasps have finished their life’s work, all they are doing now is feasting on fermented fruit and getting “drunk”.’ — Joe Mulligan, (The Independent, 2013).

Well, that’s funny! But, not honestly, these pests eat other pests, thus often serving agriculture by controlling crop pests (avoiding harmful pesticides). These intimidating yet quite threatening insects are actually no “murderers”. In fact, they even warn you before finally stinging you!

Blog Edited By Ritika Gupta

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