Aug 15, 2014 I Paul Seaburn

Giant Killer Hornet on a Leash – What Could Go Wrong?

OK, before I get emails from animal and insect rights advocates, I’m not condoning the practice of putting any type of bugs on leashes or even making pets out of them – sorry tarantula lovers. However, this story got me to investigate giant hornets, which are indeed interesting creatures.

Let’s get the alleged taming out of the way first. Twitter user Mikuru625 posted pictures of himself holding an Asian giant hornet and claiming he has tamed it and takes it out for walks on a string leash. Mikuru625 says he removed the hornet’s stinger and poison sacks with tweezers (send HIM the angry tweet, insect lovers) and takes it wherever he goes with a string around its thorax.

Why did Mikuru625 remove the stinger and poison? It might be because the Asian giant hornet is responsible for the deaths of 40 persons on average annually in Japan, making it the second-most lethal killer in that country next to man.

Don’t try to outrun one of these Vespa mandarinia, of which Mikuru625’s Japanese giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica) is a subspecies. Also known as the giant sparrow bee or the yak-killer hornet (now we’re getting serious), it’s the world's largest hornet, measuring 2 inches (50 mm) in length with a 3 inch (76 mm) wingspan that propels it at up to 25 miles an hour. Should it catch up to you (and it will), its stinger is a quarter inch (6 mm) long and injects a venom that attacks the nervous system and can cause anaphylactic shock in allergic people and renal failure in everyone else, mostly due to the large amount of poison it injects.

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The wounds caused by Asian giant hornet stings resemble bullet holes.

Another reason not to like giant hornets is that they eat honeybees. On the positive side, they also eat crop pests and they themselves supposedly taste delicious fried.

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An Asian giant hornet dining on a honeybee.

I won’t promote the idea of anyone playing with giant hornets, so check the Internet on your own for the alleged tame hornet pictures (some say they look staged and the hornet may be dead). I’d rather see them in the wild … through binoculars … in a Kevlar beekeeper’s suit.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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