Japan PSA: Fall Is Giant Hornet Season

Saturday, 2 Sep, 2017

Robert on Strava says he “just takes the stings and calls it free Vespa”, which is funny, but Asian Giant Hornets (Vespa mandarinia) in Japan are no joke. Read on for why:

Sept and Oct is breeding season for the Japanese Hornet, which is when they get aggressive. In Japanese, these are called “oo-suzumebachi (オオスズメバチ)” meaning “great sparrow bee” because of their large size. You know you’re in trouble when they start clacking their mandibles. You’ll hear their buzzing anyway, but when they start in with a clack!-clack! sound, know they’re going on the attack.

If you’re in Japan and watch the Japanese news, you’ll see reports about these regularly. I read that 40-70 people die yearly in Japan from their stings, specifically from anaphylactic shock. These hornets have a re-usable stinger, so they can stick you multiple times. If you approach them, accidentally or on purpose, or are simply in their vicinity, they can attack. One came after me as I was hanging out the laundry, not even near a nest.

Black-clothed, loud, perfumed people be gone!

They say prevention is half the cure, so, this is what I’ve learned:

If you do get stung, I read that the best thing to do is to squeeze out the venom (with your fingers, not by sucking), and keep it cold until you can get to a doctor. And multiple stings necessitate such a visit.

Stay safe out there.

⚠️ 🐝 😱

Japanese Giant Hornet from I Kenpei on Wikimedia