Why are ‘murder hornet’ stings so intense?
Asian giant hornets, two of which have been seen in the U.S., have relatively toxic venom, which can cause great pain—and, rarely, death.
How does it feel to be stung by an Asian giant hornet, Vespa mandarinia? It hurts. A lot.
The sensation is like being “stabbed by a red-hot needle,” says Shunichi Makino, who studies wasps and bees at Japan’s Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute. Not only that, but the anguish lingers.
“Usually, the stung part severely swells and continues aching for a few days,” Makino explains, via email. And “although you could also have these symptoms when stung by the other hornet species, the intensity is said to be much more severe in Vespa mandarinia.”
Stories of agonizing stings are one reason why the recent discovery of two giant hornets in Washington State has created such a sensation. The insects are now