Friday, October 4, 2013

The Chinese city living in fear of giant killer hornets

Jonathan Kaiman visits Ankang municipality where swarms of highly venomous hornets have killed 41 people in three months.

 

Chen pointed with a shaky hand at the small plot of cabbage, scallions and corn where his friend Yu Yihong was stung to death by giant hornets.

"When he got to the hospital, there were still two hornets in his trousers," says Chen, a local farmer who, like many villagers, declined to give his full name to a foreign journalist. "The hornets' poison was too strong – his liver and kidneys failed, and he couldn't urinate."

Yu, a square-jawed 40-year-old farmer in perfect health, had been harvesting his crops when he stepped on a nest of vespa mandarinia hornets concealed beneath a pile of dry corn husks. The hornets swarmed Yu, stinging him through his long-sleeve shirt and trousers. He ran, but the hornets chased him, stinging his arms and legs, his head and neck.

After Yu succumbed to his wounds and about 50 of his friends and relatives gathered to mourn his passing. Outside the farmer's mountainside home in Yuanba village, they ate preserved eggs, buckwheat noodles and boiled peanuts in silence; one set off a string of fireworks. Yu's wife and two children sat inside weeping.

For the rest of the story: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/04/killer-hornets-chinese-city-living-in-fear

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