Killer hornets in China have killed 18 people. At least 500 people have been stung by the killer hornets in Shaanxi Province, located in Eastern China, in recent months, officials said.
Angkang city health official Zhou Yuanhong told The Associated Press Thursday that the insects stung numerous people, who have been treated at the Ankang City Central Hospital.
He said that 18 people died, but state-run newspaper Huashangbao reported that 21 died in hospitals.
Around 600 people have been stung by hornets in Angkang since July 1, reported CNN. Around 70 people are still recovering in hospitals.
“I ran and shouted for help, but the hornets chased me about 200 meters, and stung me for more than 3 minutes,” local Chen Changlin was quoted as saying.
“The more you run, the more they want to chase you,” said another victim. The victim’s kidney’s were severely damaged by the hornet’s venom.
The Asian killer hornet is suspected as the culprit in the cases. They are carnivorous killers of other insects, according to the Honeybee Conservancy. They feed their young with the larvae of other insects.
The Asian hornet’s venom is also neurotoxic to humans and can dissolve human tissue.
Several people are killed by hornets each year, namely in wooded areas.
However, this year has been unusually severe, likely due to the change in the weather.
The village of Sanping was most affected by the hornet attacks. Local official Wang Zhengcai called on residents to remain “very vigilant while in the woods.”