All About the Giant Asian Hornet

The Asian Giant Hornet isn’t just huge, but it’s also deadly.

These bees have become the nightmare of many travelers. While there aren’t hundreds of people dying every year, this is still an animal that needs to be taken seriously.

What You Should Know

The Asian Giant Hornet is most often found in rural Japan, but it has been seen in North America and Southeast Asia. They prefer to make their homes in low forests and mountains. You rarely find them in high-altitudes or plains.

These grape-sized hornets strike honeybees with excessive force but have also been known to kill humans. It does not fear humans at all and will attack unprovoked.

This hornet’s stinger doesn’t have barbs like a bee. This allows it to keep striking victims and remain attached. This appendage is also much stronger and capable of going through a rain jacket. When it strikes a human, the venomous poison that comes from the stinger starts to break down flesh and overload the kidneys.

Most people who die from a sting experience cardiac arrest, anaphylaxis, and organ failure.

What Sound Do They Make?

The Asian Giant Hornet uses chemical and visual cues to navigate. With scent marking, the hornet shows others in the family where to go. It also makes some acoustic sounds as well. The larvae scrape their mandibles on the cell walls when hungry. Adult hornets also click their mandibles to warn other creatures coming into their territory.

Group Characteristics

Once the Asian Giant Hornets build their nest during the spring, the queen lays a single egg into each cell. These hatch within a week. The larvae go through five stages of change before they become adults. This takes 14 days and leaves the colony with around 700 workers when it is complete. Then, the queen creates fertilized female and non-fertilized male eggs. The males leave the hive as soon as they become adults. Once they mate, they die. The females become workers. The older workers and queen will die in fall and a young queen will take her spot.

How Many are There?

The Asian Giant Hornet is listed as Threatened. Its biggest danger is habitat destruction. It doesn’t have any natural predators other than humans. Some locals even eat the giant hornet as part of a regular diet.

Watch a Video

Animal Planet shared information about how the Asian Giant Hornet made its way to Europe.

Here’s an informative video showing how honeybees have begun to defend themselves against this predator. They have learned to fight back against the slaughter they once experienced and have turned the tables on the Asian Giant Hornet.

Pop Culture

You aren’t going to find the Asian Giant Hornet glorified in any way on the big screen unless it’s through a documentary. With that said, it’s become a popular animal to hear about in the news, especially after an attack. This also isn’t a popular animal to find on display at zoos.

Interesting Facts

The Asian Giant Hornet travels up to 60 miles at a time. It can reach 25 mph when hunting prey.

Asian Giant Hornets are currently the largest species of wasp and hornet in the world. The queen will grow to be more than 5 centimeters long.

Other names for the Asian Giant Hornet include yak-killer hornet as well as giant sparrow bees.

The Asian Giant Hornet will nest and live underground. It’s often found underneath large tree roots. To make things easier, it chooses a tree that has been abandoned by a previous animal. If it can’t find this readily available, it will begin to dig to get an appropriate home.