The death toll from a plague of giant, highly-aggressive hornets sweeping through Shaanxi province has risen to 41, with over 1,600 people injured, Shanghai Daily reports.
As you can see in the photo above, these hornets/wasps are big. Asian giant hornets (vespa mandarinia) are on average 5.5 cm (2.2 inches) long, or about the width of an iPhone 3G.
Though hornet attacks are a fact of life in Shaanxi, this year the insects have been especially prevalent, scientists suggest the greater numbers may be caused by increasing temperatures brought on by climate change.
The hornets, which can reach speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour (25 mph), are also extremely aggressive. One man described being chased for 200 metres and stung repeatedly for over three minutes.
“The more you run, the more they want to chase you,” said another victim, whose kidneys were ravaged by the venom. When he was admitted to the hospital, his urine was the color of soy sauce, according to local reports.
Authorities in Shaanxi have established a team of medical experts to offer support to victims. Firefighters have also been equipped with pesticides and protective clothing to tackle the insects.
I for one, etc. etc.
[Image credit: @antbbx // Via: Gawker, Beijing Cream]