Japanese Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica)

Last weekend we had our garden pruned and cleaned by a professional service. While he was here, I spotted this Giant Hornet on his tarp he laid down to capture the bits of leaf that dropped from the trees. It measured over an inch long and it was very colorful. It is known as ōsuzumebachi here and it is a pretty formidable creature. They have a painful sting and every year 30-40 people die from these hornets, making them the most dangerous animal in the country. I only saw this one and after photographing it for awhile, it flew off across the neighbors garden and out of sight.

They are known for wiping out honey bees, although the bees if given advanced warning, can kill single wasps through grouping together and through beating their wings, raise the CO2 and heat levels sufficiently to kill the hornet. The hornets also kill agricultural pests and many farmers view them as beneficial. They are bright orange and I hope there is not a nest of them close by. The nest is usually well hidden.

 

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