Oriental Hornets on the Rise

It has become ever more likely to encounter oriental hornets these days. Close to four thousand nests of oriental hornets have been recorded in 2020, prompting discussions pertaining to an invasion. The bright side? Winter is steadily approaching, and sightings of these intimidating insects are likely to decrease.

Over the past weeks, people have reported more sightings of oriental hornets, in areas which are both public and secluded.

The oriental hornet has some distinguishing features which include a reddish-brown colour with yellow discoloration on its head and abdomen and, is normally quite visible from the months of May till October. In terms of habitat, it can be found in the Mediterranean area, the Middle East, United Arab Emirates, India and Madagascar. They can be seen at certain moments prowling through public areas for human food.

Oriental hornets’ nests can house beneath a hundred, but can also extend to several hundreds, and if you see one, you’d better move away! The sting of the oriental hornet is quite painful and anyone who goes through that ordeal is encouraged to seek medical assistance due to the complications which may arise. Such complications may include difficulties with breathing, a faster heartbeat, lower blood pressure and facial swelling. A sting from these insects is definitely not something to trifle with.

Another concerning fact is that unlike the honeybee’s stinger, the oriental hornet’s is not barbed and can therefore sting multiple times when threatened. This same oriental hornet releases pheromones, prompting the other hornets to attack. Such attacks may also be unprovoked, for example due to perfumes and other chemicals that these vicious insects may perceive as pheromones.

This growth in oriental hornets is bringing about an ever-increasing threat to the local bee population. This means that agriculture in general is also under threat because for it to thrive, it requires pollination. Due to this growing number of hornets, bees have reacted by refusing to leave their hives due to fear, prohibiting them from their pollination processes.

The way the oriental hornets attack is by having scouts to investigate the area, and report back to their colony which would mount a full attack on the beehive. This has serious repercussions even for us humans as a significant amount of the food we eat comes through pollination.

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