Giant killer hornet believed to be a new species and the largest in the world

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A ‘giant’ hornet has been discovered on the border between China and Myanmar that experts say is from a new speices.

Experts from the Huaxi Insect Museum in Chengdu city, south China, say the find represents the largest Asian giant hornet found to date. 


The discovery was made on an expedition to Yunnan in southern China, where locals led an insect specialist to a giant hive.   

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A 'giant' hornet has been discovered on the border between China and Myanmar that experts say is from a new speices. Experts from the Huaxi Insect Museum in Chengdu city, south China, say the find represents the largest Asian giant hornet found to date

A ‘giant’ hornet has been discovered on the border between China and Myanmar that experts say is from a new speices. Experts from the Huaxi Insect Museum in Chengdu city, south China, say the find represents the largest Asian giant hornet found to date  

The Asian giant hornet is a wasp that is native to forests and mountains in temperate and tropical environments in East Asia. 

The newly found hornets have an body length measuring up to 2.4inches (6cm) and a wing span of 3.5inches (9.35cm), making them a significantly larger population than the largest recorded. 

Asian killer hornets grow up to two inches long (45mm) and have a three-inch wingspan (75mm), are an aggressive predator of honey bees and other pollinating insects.

Mr Zhao Li was on an expedition to the city of Pu’er in Yunnan province and  was astounded by the ‘mega hive’ he was shown in a photo on a local’s mobile phone.  

The hive had a diameter seemingly greater than 79inches (2m), and the man in the photo could only wrap his arm two-thirds of the way round it, something which Mr Zhao says was enough to pique his curiosity. 

But Mr Zhao was not able to identify the same population until he searched ‘far and wide’, eventually finding the hive in a local market, where fresh honey was being sold. 

Eventually following the seller he was able to trace the wasps to the border with Myanmar. 

After studying hundreds of samples from the hives, the scientists concluded that the new wasp population were indeed larger than all those that had previously been studied. 

The newly found 'mega' Giant hornet (pictured) have an body length measuring up to 2.4inches (6cm) and a wing span of 3.5inches (9.35cm), making them a significantly larger  than the largest ever recorded

The newly found 'mega' Giant hornet (pictured) have an body length measuring up to 2.4inches (6cm) and a wing span of 3.5inches (9.35cm), making them a significantly larger  than the largest ever recorded

The newly found ‘mega’ Giant hornet (pictured) have an body length measuring up to 2.4inches (6cm) and a wing span of 3.5inches (9.35cm), making them a significantly larger than the largest ever recorded

Asian killer hornets grow up to two inches long (45mm) and have a three-inch wingspan (75mm), are an aggressive predator of honey bees and other pollinating insects.

Asian killer hornets grow up to two inches long (45mm) and have a three-inch wingspan (75mm), are an aggressive predator of honey bees and other pollinating insects.

Asian killer hornets grow up to two inches long (45mm) and have a three-inch wingspan (75mm), are an aggressive predator of honey bees and other pollinating insects.

But as an immigrant species in Europe, the hornets have caused a lot of concern for local agriculture. 

They prey on honeybees, hovering like attack helicopters outside their hives and grabbing them on the wing.

Dr Gavin Gavin Broad, a wasp expert at the Natural History Museum in London previously explained why British beekeepers in are so worried about the Asian hornet.

Mr Zhao Li was on an expedition to the city of Pu'er in Yunnan province, south China when he was astounded by the 'mega hive' a local showed him on his mobile phone

Mr Zhao Li was on an expedition to the city of Pu'er in Yunnan province, south China when he was astounded by the 'mega hive' a local showed him on his mobile phone

Mr Zhao Li was on an expedition to the city of Pu’er in Yunnan province, south China when he was astounded by the ‘mega hive’ a local showed him on his mobile phone

He said: ‘The non-native Asian or yellow-legged hornet is an invasive species in Britain as their spread could negatively affect the wildlife already living here.

‘The issue is that they eat honeybees. They are specialised honeybee predators and beekeepers are concerned.

‘The hornets raid honeybee hives by sitting outside them and capturing workers as they go in and out. They chop them up and feed the thorax to their young.’

The 'Asian hornet', scientific name Vespa velutina, is an invasive non-native species from Asia that arrived in France in 2014, and has since been spreading rapidly in Europe, threatening local bee species and agriculture as they prey on honey bees 

The 'Asian hornet', scientific name Vespa velutina, is an invasive non-native species from Asia that arrived in France in 2014, and has since been spreading rapidly in Europe, threatening local bee species and agriculture as they prey on honey bees 

The ‘Asian hornet’, scientific name Vespa velutina, is an invasive non-native species from Asia that arrived in France in 2014, and has since been spreading rapidly in Europe, threatening local bee species and agriculture as they prey on honey bees 

Mr Zhao Li from the Chengdu Xihua Insect Museum was in the city of Pu'er in Yunnan province in south China when he was shown a picture of a 'mega hive'. To hunt the same population of hornets down, Mr Li said he had to search 'far and wide', eventually finding it in a local market 

Mr Zhao Li from the Chengdu Xihua Insect Museum was in the city of Pu'er in Yunnan province in south China when he was shown a picture of a 'mega hive'. To hunt the same population of hornets down, Mr Li said he had to search 'far and wide', eventually finding it in a local market 

Mr Zhao Li from the Chengdu Xihua Insect Museum was in the city of Pu’er in Yunnan province in south China when he was shown a picture of a ‘mega hive’. To hunt the same population of hornets down, Mr Li said he had to search ‘far and wide’, eventually finding it in a local market 

The photo of the hive that astounded the insect expert had a diameter greater than 79inches (2m), and the man (pictured) in the  could only wrap his arm two-thirds of the way round it

The photo of the hive that astounded the insect expert had a diameter greater than 79inches (2m), and the man (pictured) in the  could only wrap his arm two-thirds of the way round it

The photo of the hive that astounded the insect expert had a diameter greater than 79inches (2m), and the man (pictured) in the could only wrap his arm two-thirds of the way round it

After taking hundreds of samples from the hives discovered, the scientists concluded that the new wasp population were indeed larger than all those that had previously been studied 

After taking hundreds of samples from the hives discovered, the scientists concluded that the new wasp population were indeed larger than all those that had previously been studied 

After taking hundreds of samples from the hives discovered, the scientists concluded that the new wasp population were indeed larger than all those that had previously been studied 

An immigrant species in Europe, however, the hornets caused a lot of concern for local farmers and bee growers. They prey on honeybees, hovering like attack helicopters outside their hives and grabbing them on the wing

An immigrant species in Europe, however, the hornets caused a lot of concern for local farmers and bee growers. They prey on honeybees, hovering like attack helicopters outside their hives and grabbing them on the wing

An immigrant species in Europe, however, the hornets caused a lot of concern for local farmers and bee growers. They prey on honeybees, hovering like attack helicopters outside their hives and grabbing them on the wing

WHAT IS THE ASIAN HORNET AND THE EUROPEAN INVASION?

The ‘Asian hornet’, scientific name Vespa velutina, is an invasive non-native species from Asia. 

It first arrived in France in 2014, and has since been spreading rapidly, with the first UK sighting in 2016.

It is a highly effective predator of insects, including honey bees and other beneficial species.

The average Asian hornet has a body span of 4.5cm and a wing span of  around 7.6 cm. 

Since then the dark brown and orange insects have spread rapidly through the country and started to invade neighbouring countries.

They have also become established in the Channel Islands and were first reported in the UK in 2016.

In 2016, an Asian hornet nest was discovered in Gloucestershire and destroyed.

The hornets, which grow up to two inches long (45mm) and have a three-inch wingspan (75mm), are an aggressive predator of honey bees and other pollinating insects.

The hornets prey on honeybees, hovering like attack helicopters outside their hives and grabbing them on the wing.

The bees are dismembered before being carried back to the hornets’ nest to be fed to larvae.

The charity Plantlife has warned that the hornet ‘poses a deadly threat to honeybees and other pollinators and any potential sightings should be immediately reported to the GB Non-native Species Secretariat.’

Queens build nests in April. They rapidly start laying eggs until the hive population reaches about 6,000 insects. 

A report by the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, estimates that the decline of bees worldwide poses a potentially major risk to world food supplies.

Britain’s bees are thought to have fallen by a third since 2007. The British Beekeepers’ Association warns the public not to disturb a hornets’ nest ‘under any circumstances’.



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