Swarms of deadly hornets have killed more than 40 people and injured more than 1,600 in northern China.
At least 37 patients are in a critical or serious condition in hospitals, according to Shaanxi provincial government.
Victims of the attack have been left with deep, dark craters in their skin the size of bullet wounds.
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Swarms of deadly hornets have killed more than 40 people and injured more than 1,600 in northern China
Victims of the attack have been left with deep, dark craters in their skin the size of bullet wounds
Terrifying: One victim told local media that ‘the more you run, the more they want to chase you’
Over the past three months the cities of Angkang, Hanzhong and Shangluo have been worst affected.
The Chinese term for hornets is ‘hu feng’ and local experts believe the culprit is the Asian giant hornet or Vespa mandarinia, which grows up to 5cm long with a 6mm sting.
The insects’ highly toxic stings can lead to anaphylactic shock and renal failure.
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Horror: Some victims described being chased about 200 metres (656 feet) by a swarm
The hornets pick on honeybees as they leave their hive until the colony is so exhausted that the hornets can move in and ransack it.
Groups of Asian hornets hover in front of a beehive, picking off single honeybees, decapitating them and stripping off their wings and legs before making off with the ‘meat ball’ to feed their young.
It is a further problem for the British honeybee, which is struggling to cope with changes in farming and climate and already has one Far Eastern invader to contend with – the varroa mite, which feeds on the bees and makes their hives more vulnerable to disease.
The Chinese term for hornets is ‘hu feng’.
Those behind the deadly attacks this summer appear to be the Asian giant hornet, or Vespa mandarinia.
The Asian giant hornet grows up to 5cm long with a 6mm sting which injects a large amount of potent venom.
The hornet sting can be extremely painful to humans and has been compared to a hot nail being hammered into the body,
The head of the hornet is orange and quite wide in comparison to other hornet species.
The Asian giant hornet is intensely predatory; it hunts medium- to large-sized insects, such as bees, other hornet species, and mantises.
Hornets are most aggressive in behavior when they mate and migrate in September and October.
Attacks are difficult to prevent because hornet nests are usually in hidden sites.