More than two dozen people have been killed by giant hornets in China this summer.
According to the Guardian, the giant hornets chased their victims hundreds of meters before stinging them up to 200 times. The insects have reportedly killed 28 people so far and have injured hundreds more.
Health official Zhou Yuanhong told the Associated Press that the majority of the attacks have taken place in rural, wooded areas in the southern Shaanxi province. In the city of Ankang, 18 people have already been killed by the giant hornets.
The Ankang Disease Control Center told the IB Times that hornet stings are highly toxic and can cause anaphylactic shock.
The center said: “Patients with more than 10 hornet stings should seek medical attention. Those with more than 30 stings need immediate emergency treatment.”
Zhou said that hornet attacks are common in the area between May and November. Between 2002 and 2005, the city of Arkang saw 36 people killed and 715 injured by the hornets. Authorities don’t know why the attacks have been so severe this year but they believe it may have something to do with weather.
Li Jiuzhou, deputy director of the Shaanxi Bee and Wasp Industry Association, said that warm weather has allowed the hornets to breed more successfully. Jiuzhou said that laborers venturing into the woods should be extremely careful not to disturb the nests.
Masato Ono, an entomologist at Tamagawa University, said that Asian Giant Hornet sting feels like “a hot nail through my leg.”