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Number 5 Chieko Kikuchi
87-year-old Chieko Kikuchi was being transferred to her home from a facility in the west of Japan. A worker, who was escorting the woman, tried to help but the swarm was too thick for her to get through. She called the nursing facility which sent a team to the scene. For nearly an hour the helpless elderly woman was stung over 150 times. Before we move on to our next listing about a nest found on Vancouver Island, let’s go through some of the hornet’s physical features.
What Is It?
Vespa mandarinia is the world’s largest hornet. Also known as the Asian giant hornet, this creature is roughly the size of a human thumb and possesses a stinger that’s upwards of 0.23 inches long. Its thorax is dark brown and its head is a light shade of orange. One feature that distinguishes Vespa mandarinia among other hornets is its pronounced clypeus, the broad plate at the front of its head. Additionally, the insect’s orange mandible contains a black tooth that’s used for digging.
Number 4 Nest Found on Vancouver Island
In the fall of 2019, Asian giant hornets were confirmed for the first time in British Columbia when a nest was found in the city of Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island. The discovery of three Vespa mandarinia individuals is what led wildlife authorities to speculate about a potential nest. The find sparked concerns among local beekeepers since the hornets are known to decimate entire bee colonies. Nobody knows how the hornets had gotten to the island in the first place. Some specimens were kept in hopes of uncovering the mystery.
Where Is It Located?
Finding a nest on Vancouver Island was definitely an anomaly as Asian giant hornets, much like their name implies, are endemic to the Asian continent. Countries known for their presence include China, Taiwan and southern parts of Russia. They’re also found throughout Indochina, in countries like India, Thailand, Nepal, Vietnam or Cambodia. Rural Japan is where Vespa mandarinia is most common, where it’s colloquially known as the “giant sparrow bee”. These hornets typically nest in lowland forests and low mountain foothills. The hornets will create their own tunnels, which are often an extension of those already dug by burrowing animals, such as snakes or rodents. Asian giant hornets are eusocial animals, with a queen, which is considerably larger than the others, drones and workers.
Number 3 Sanchai Phaoarun
In October, 2019, Sanchai Phaoarun was taking a French couple on a guided tour of Chang Mai, in the north of Thailand. As they were trying to flee, Phaoarun tripped and fell to the ground. Phaoarun wasn’t so fortunate.
Number 2 Experts
It’s the only social wasp species known to apply scent to a food source which will subsequently allow others in its nest to track it. A single hornet can travel about 60 miles in a single day at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.
These hornets tend to be more active during the fall or at the time of their breeding season. They’re attracted to cologne or perfume. Stay away from nests. If you do get swarmed don’t run as they’ll most likely chase you. Crouch, cover your head and try not to move.
Number 1 Shaanxi
The 2013 incident in Shaanxi, China, is the most recent one involving large-scale Asian giant hornets. Over the summer and early fall, swarms descended upon unsuspecting farm workers and invaded schools full of children.