Local villagers, donned only in thin protective clothing and armed with sticks, go into a Vietnam forest to dig out a huge Asian giant hornet nest. Hornet hunters use sticks with flat heads to whack or beat the hornets. The nests are extracted from the ground for their larvae which are sold in Asian food markets and served up as local delicacies.
Asian Giant Hornets Formidable Predators
The Asian giant hornet, also known as the yak-killer hornet, is the largest hornet species in the world. It is native to tropical and temperate low mountains and forests in Eastern Asia. The Asian giant hornet nests are created in the ground by digging or using existing rodent tunnels. This species eats other insects, honey, or tree sap. Being the largest species of hornet in the world, its body is 1.8 inches long, its wingspan is around 3.0 inches, and it has a stinger that is 0.24 inches long.
The Asian giant hornet protects itself in a few ways. It has a stinger that is 0.24 inches long, and when threatened, it can inject a potent venom causing extensive damage to tissue. Multiple stings from Asian giant hornets can be lethal to humans. Persons allergic to the venom are at a greater risk of death from their stings.
In China, victims stung more than 10 times require medical attention, and those stung more than 30 times are advised to seek emergency medical treatment, as stings from Asian giant hornets can cause kidney failure. Victims have gone into anaphylactic shock or cardiac arrest after being stung multiples times.
The Asian giant hornet hunts prey such as large insects, bees and other hornets by attacking a colony or hive to capture and consume the adults, pupae, and larvae inside. Their large mandibles cause great damage when used to strike, chew, and decapitate their prey. A single Asian giant hornet can kill as many as 40 bees in a single minute. Adult hornets drink the juices of their prey and chew their victims into a paste for their larvae to consume.
Despite being such a formidable predator, Asian giant hornet nests are highly sought after.
The Asian Giant Hornet Larvae Delicious Delicacy
Asian giant hornet nests are harvested in Vietnam and other Asian countries for their larvae. In Japan, Asian giant hornet larvae are prized delicacies and are expertly cooked and served in Japanese restaurants for the larvae connoisseur.
Japanese Bees Attack an Asian Giant Hornet
Humans are not the only ones cooking up the Asian giant hornet. Unlike the western honeybee, which is completely defenseless against the Asian giant hornet, Japanese bees have developed a defense mechanism to trap and kill any Asian giant hornet scouts that wonder near their hive. When an Asian giant hornet scout is spotted near the Japanese bees' hive, an opening is left unprotected to lure the hornet inside. Once the Asian giant hornet enters the bee hive, a swarm of bees completely cover it. The bees flap and vibrate their wings to raise their temperature and to increase CO2 levels. This rise in temperature and CO2 levels effectively cook the Asian giant hornet to death.
Watch this video as a swarm of Japanese bees cook an Asian giant hornet using their ingenious defense mechanism known as the 'hot defensive bee ball'.