“Murder hornets” have been spotted in the U.S. for the first time ever. Known as the Asian giant hornet, Vespa mandarinia, the 2-inch long insect looks almost cartoonish with a large yellow-orange head, prominent eyes and a black and yellow striped body.
These hornets have killed around 50 people in Japan per year and killed 41 people in the Chinese province of Shaanxi during the summer of 2013, but they don’t typically go after humans, reported CBS News.
Rather, they are a major threat to the U.S.’s already struggling honeybee populations. The hornets will attack beehives, beheading the inhabitants and eating the larvae — they have the capacity to kill 30,000 bees in a few hours. The hornets have also been known to target and kill mice.
YouTuber Coyote Peterson, known as “The King of Sting,” wanted to experience first-hand the worst, most painful sting in the world.
Peterson was able to get ahold of a Japanese giant hornet — a subspecies of the Asian giant hornet — and held it up to the camera with a pair of tweezers.
“I haven’t been this nervous since the tarantula hawk,” Peterson says in the 2018 video. He then lowered the hornet towards his arm.
“Oh man, wave of dizziness really quick,” Peterson yelled after the stinger had lodged in his arm. “Searing pain. Absolute searing pain. Did you not see how slow the sting was?”
The hornet’s stinger is larger than a regular bee or wasp’s, which is why even professional beekeeping suits are futile to protect from their sting.
“When the stinger went into my arm, I had this wave — this wave came over me, and I got super dizzy,” Peterson continued. “Almost didn’t feel what was happening. And then the pain was immediately searing.”
After a few seconds, Peterson’s arm started to swell dramatically. The stinger’s venom can send people into anaphylactic shock, cause organ failure, break down flesh and fray nerve endings, so don’t attempt to recreate Peterson’s video. His team works with professionals and animal experts who helped facilitate the experiment in the safest way possible.
People who survive the stings can still experience pain months after the encounter, according to Insider. In Peterson’s video, he explained he was still in agony 20 minutes after being stung.
“No relief yet,” he said. “It’s just a matter of harnessing the pain, controlling the level of pain, and rolling around on the ground and screaming at this point.”
There is no tried-and-true way to kill the hornets either. In China, residents have tried attacking the nests with fire, water, smoke, poison and welding guns. Hornet traps might work, but if the queen is still alive the population will continue to grow and terrorize.
Entomologists advise that should you spot a hornet, to run and report the encounter to the Washington State Department of Agriculture, who has been keeping track of sightings all over the U.S.
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