Now That's Huge!

Oct 18, 2013

The world's largest hornet (Vespa mandarinia) is huge.

Just how huge?

We photographed a two-inch specimen last week at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis. Among the insect musem's nearly eight million specimens is the giant hornet.

Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator, placed a honey bee next to it for size comparison. 


The news about this hornet is not good. The Chinese news agency Xinhua declared that the insect is wreaking havoc in northwestern China. Some 42 people have died from its stings since last July and some 1600 others have been injured.

"The problem with this particular hornet is that it's big, sort of thumb-sized, and it packs a lot of venom," Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and UC Davis professor of entomology told National Geographic News.

"And its nests get fairly large, including maybe several hundred individuals. They are aggressive, they are predatory, and they have been known to kill and eat an entire colony of honey bees," she said.

The hornet destroy the entire colony within minutes.

As Kimsey says, this hornet is a predator and highly aggressive.