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There are two species which bear the common name ofAsian hornet:
- The Asian giant hornet or Vespa Mandarinia
- The Asian hornet or Vespa Velutina
The first species,Asian giant hornetorVespa mandarinia, belongs to the Vespidae family and is also known asJapanese hornet orkiller hornet. It is a large hornet, whose sting could be very dangerous for humans.
Has the giant Asian hornet, of the Vespa Mandariania species, arrived in Italy?
Recently we often hear about the arrival in Italy of thewasp mandariania which would have caused anaphylactic shock in a sixty-year-old from Lazio.
According to unofficial sightings, thegiant Asian hornet or Japanese hornet, would have arrived in Italy in 2012 but the boom in reports broke out in 2018, thanks to the case of anaphylactic shock. The diffusion map would see it present both in Lazio and in Liguria.
This is NOT official news and has never been formalized: reports and sightings have never been ascertained by any expert.
It is unlikely that it is thegiant asian hornetsince, following the episode of anaphylactic shock in Lazio, some specimens of Asian hornets were forwarded to the Lazio zooprophylactic institute which, after several days, did not issue any official press release. This makes us think that thekiller hornet in Italyit has not yet arrived and the alarms are linked to the presence of another similar alien species, the wasp velutina.
False alarm, then! The official list of alien species present on the Italian territory does not indicate theAsian hornet wasp mandarina
Asian hornet or mandarinia wasp
Let's see immediately why theJapanese hornetit has generated many alarmisms.
The Asian giant hornet or Vespa mandarinia, also known by the names ofJapanese hornetor yak-killer hornet, has a body about 5 cm long and a wingspan of 7.6 cm. With these dimensions it is easy to recognize.
How to recognize the Asian giant hornet
How would I recognize the Asian yak-killer hornet? Considering the size and other anatomical features. In addition, thanks to the images on this page, it will be easy to distinguish aAsian hornetfrom an Italian common hornet.
- It has a very wide wingspan when compared to other species.
- Compound eyes and dark brown ocelli
- Brown-orange antennas.
- The clypeus (the shield placed on the head) is orange and dotted.
- The jaw is wide and orange.
- The thorax has a characteristic golden color.
- The front legs are orange with dark brown tarsus.
- The central legs are gray-brown.
- The tegula are brown.
The presence of theAsian giant hornethas been reported in Italy since 2012 but these reports have never found official feedback. They would, in fact, be attributed to the less dangerous (at least for humans)Vespa velutina.
The sting of the Asian hornet
TheJapanese hornetmakes a lot of talk about itself because of the danger of its sting.
Masatna Ono, an entomologist at Tamagawa University, describes the sting of the Asian giant hornet "like a hot nail stuck in the leg". It is clear that this is a painful event ... But is it really dangerous for humans?
The danger occurs only in some cases, when the doses of the poison injected with the sting are very high.
The venom that contains the sting is the same as that of bees or common wasps, so it is dangerous and lethal only in allergic people.
It can also be dangerous for non-allergic subjects only in special cases in which the specimen emits a lethal dose of poison or in case of multiple stings.
In Japan, thesting of the Asian hornetcauses between 20 and 40 deaths annually.
How to protect yourself from the sting
The mandarian wasp is not present in Italy, but should it arrive -accidentally imported by man- it must be considered that:
- The Asian hornet attacks when someone approaches its nest. The nest is made between August and September and has up to 300 specimens. Keep the necessary distance from any nests and alert the competent authorities.
- Do not approach the Asian wasp while it eats because it behaves aggressively when it fears it will lose a food source.
- Dark colored clothing increases the risk of attack by theJapanese hornet conversely, light-colored clothing can be considered a risk factor at night.
- Insects, including hornets, are attracted to drinks containing sugar or alcohol. If you leave a can on a meadow in the open countryside, you may have inadvertently built a bait to attract wasps.
Just like theAsian wasp, even the killer hornet is very dangerous for local bees.
To deepen the theme ofAsian hornet in Italy, with references to the species less dangerous for humans but harmful to bees, we invite you to read the article: wasp velutina.
With the images of the Asian hornet (Vespa mandarinia) featured on this page, it will be easy for you to recognize it. The photos above show theJapanese hornet, while in comparison, two species present in Italy, on the right thecommon hornet(Vespa crabro) and on the left the Asian hornet vespa velutina.