Thursday, July 17, 2014

A BiColored Wasp That Likes to Aim for the Head When Stinging (Polistes sagittarius)

Asian predatory wasp (Banded Polistes - Sri Lanka) dining on watermelon.

Apparently these Vespa Bicolor Polistes sagittarius like watermelon and like to aim for the head when stinging ...

Polistes sagittarius species is recorded from much of mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and elsewhere in Asia. They like to build nests in beautiful ornamental plants.

I have never been stung by this species on my hands or arms, it has always been right on the head! (

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Watch Out for Accidental Encounters with Wasp or Hornet Nests

Massive Wasp Nest Removed In Florida (Archives from NBC News).

Dangerous wasp nests are a possible encounter in Florida swamps and woods. This seasonal video released by NBC is an archive from a few years back. An accidental exposure to a nest of this size without any protective gear would be deadly.

Paramedics from Altamonte Springs, Florida responded about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, 2014 to a wasp attack after two people ran out of the woods screaming. David Alvarez, his 7-year-old son, Jordan, and their dog were being attacked by yellow jackets. Both victims were covered with wasps. Itsis believed that they were following the family dog, when it accidentally stepped on an underground nest. The dog was taken to a vet and released, but David Alvarez and his son Jordan were still hospitalized as of June 25, 2014. Its was estimated that David Alvarez had about 300 stings.

A passerby stopped to call 9-1-1, but called from inside his vehicle with the windows rolled up. A wasp still managed to get in his car and under his shirt. Jordan was sitting up, screaming. David Alvarez was laying down and looking like he was losing consciousness.

A beekeeper happened to be nearby and grabbed his mask, veil and gloves and headed toward the direction of the screams. He picked up Jordan, put him in his truck and returned to David Alvarez, who still had about 15-20 wasps attacking him. The beekeeper, Jim Kunze, pinched off the wasps to kill them.

Tips to avoid swarms of wasps, bees and hornets

•Whenever you're in the yard or outdoors, always look for new nests and flying wasps or hornets flying to and from nests -- in bushes, up high on structures or trees, or underground in open ground or near the bases of trees or bushes.

•Beware of hidden nests, and inspect grills or electrical receptacles for signs of streams of wasps or hornets flying in and out of nests before opening outdoor enclosures.

•Avoid swatting at bees and wasps, which will irritate them and send them into attack.

•Instead, walk away calmly from wasps, bees or hornets if you see them swarming.

•Always inspect eaves and roof gables before getting up on a ladder -- again, look  for signs of streams of wasps or hornets flying in and out of nests before opening outdoor enclosures.

•Keep lids on garbage cans and empty the cans frequently.

•Clean outdoor grills after cooking to remove food "leftovers" for the wasps

•Beware that some species are more sensitive to the distance they allow perceived threats to encounter their nests. Bald-faced hornets have very little tolerance for humans within 25 feet of their nests. Yellow jackets will let you get closer before attacking. Honey Bees and Bumblebees

•Some species of hornets will dive bomb and attack from high altitudes (20 or 30 feet).

See also ...
Orlando Sentinel Father, son remain in hospital after Altamonte Springs yellow-jacket attack

Saturday, April 19, 2014

European Tour: Golfer Pablo Larrazabal Flees Hornet Attack by Jumping in Lake at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club

Golfer Pablo Larrazabal makes birdie after being attacked by a swarm of hornets and jumping in a lake to avoid them.

Spain's Pablo Larrazabal's was attacked by a swarm of hornets at the Maybank Malaysian Open after hitting a chip shot on the 14th hole (his fifth of his round) Friday. Larrazabal was attacked by dozens of the swarming pests before finally deciding to escape the danger by jumping into the lake. He is reported to have been stung about 20 times.

"(These) were no bees," The European Tour golfer said in a video posted on the tour's official website. "(These) were triple-size of bees. They were huge. Like 30-to-40 of them start to attack me big time. I didn't know what to do."

The Asian Predatory Wasp is known to nest in trees in Malaysia.  The Banded hornet is also known to inhabit Malaysia.

See also ...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bee Swarm Attacks Left Field at Yankees-Red Sox Game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa

ABC News Instant Index: A Swarm of Bees Attack the Yankees and Red Sox.

A swarm of bees arrived in left field during the third inning at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. Boston left fielder Mike Carp pointed out the bees to umpires, who stopped the game while the groundskeeper crew the area with multiple cans of insect spray.

Bees swarmed a remote camera at an Orioles - Angels game in Anaheim on May 2, 2013.

5/2/13: The game between the Orioles and Angels in Anaheim is delayed by a swarm of bees hovering behind home plate.

A swarm of bees also delayed a game for 23 minutes on September 23, 2013 at a Seattle Mariners-Los Angles game ...

9/22/13: An infestation of bees in the outfield sends players and fans scattering and delays the ballgame for 23 minutes.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Tamarixia radiata, a Tiny, Stingless Wasp from Pakistan, Used to Attempt to Destroy Asian Citrus Psyllid Pest of Citrus Farmers

California citrus farmers are using a tiny stingless wasp, known as Tamarixia radiata, to attempt to destroy the Asian citrus psyllid, which causes citrus fruit to turn lumpy, and eventually destroys the trees. The female wasp lays an egg in the psyllid's belly. When the egg hatches, the nymph devours the Asian Citrus Psyllid.

University of California, Riverside scientists released a natural enemy of the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP).

University of California, Riverside scientists released Tamarixia radiata (tiny, stingless parasitic wasps that lay eggs in ACP nymphs) -- a natural enemy of the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) in a citrus grove on the UC Riverside campus in 2011. The scientists are using Tamarixia radiata to help control the spread of the psyllid -- an invasive pest that could devastate the state's $1.1 billion citrus industry.

UC Riverside Executive Vice Chancellor Dallas Rabenstein and Mark Hoddle, the director of the Center for Invasive Species Research, released Tamarixia radiata – tiny, stingless parasitic wasps that lay eggs in ACP nymphs – in a citrus grove near the UCR Botanic Gardens. A total of 281 wasps (95 males and 186 females) were released [...]

See also ...
LA TIMES Citrus growers use predator wasp to fight disease threat

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

Asian Giant Hornets: Firefighters in Ankang, China Fight Back as Death Toll Hits 42, and Injuries Hit 1,600

ITN VIDEO: Victims in hospital with sting wounds and firefighters shown fighting hornets and removing hornet nests.

Firefighters in northwest China are removing nests while wearing protective suits and using fire and aerosol spray to fend off the two-inch Asian Giant Hornets (Vespa Mandarina).  Ankang’s firefighters have removed over 300 hornet nests from crowded residential areas since July in an attempt to prevent injuries and deaths.

Hospitals in the city of Ankang, China have been forced to set up specialist units and medical committees to cope with the large number patients suffering from multiple stings. Many people are in critical condition, and some are not expected to survive. In early stats released in October 2013,  42 people have been killed, and 1600 have been injured by stings from Asian Giant Hornets.

Highly toxic venom injected in multiple puncture wounds have been found on victims. Many of the wounds look ulcerated and show signs of tissue destruction. Some naysayers have claimed that venom of Asian Giant Hornets isn't any more lethal than other wasps and bees, but experts say that the toxin is a special mix that can destroy tissue with a cytolytic peptide (specifically, a mastoparan) that can damage tissue by stimulating phospholipase action from the victim's tissue. The venom also contains its own intrinsic phospholipase. Mastoparan is a peptide toxin from wasp venom that is basically a biochemical hazmat situation at the cellular level -- causing cells to spill out their interior contents (exocytosis). Histamine, serotonin and catecholamines are released. Proteins are disassociated by Mastoparan. Phospholipase is an enzyme that hydrolyzes (destroys) phospholipids, which are components of all cell membranes.

Asian Giant Hornet venom also contains a neurotoxin called mandaratoxin (MDTX), which is a single-chain polypeptide with a molecular weight of approximately 20,000.  MDTX can be lethal even to people who are not allergic if the dose is sufficient. In research of MDTX, scientists discovered with an intracellular recording from the presynaptic nerve fiber, MDTX blocked the action potential mainly by reducing the sodium current (nerve impulses work from flow of sodium ions across nerve cell membranes). In very small amounts (nanomole range), MDTX irreversibly blocked the excitatory postsynaptic potential of tissue in a walking lobster leg.

The sensation of pain is described as a "hot nail driven into tissue."

Most of the victims have been rural farmers working outdoors in rice fields. A 68-year-old was killed after wind blew a hornets nest over, or when he accidentally knocked over the nest. The hornets swarmed him, stung him multiple times, and killed him. Victims in Hanzhong and Shangluo have also been killed and injured.

Ankang, China is in a Subtropical monsoon climate region of China. The frost-free period, according to is as long as 210-270 days, which lasts on average more than 8 months. It is unknown if the hornets migrate from more tropical regions.

See also Purification and properties of a presynaptically acting neurotoxin, mandaratoxin, from hornet (Vespa mandarinia).


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