Well there a plenty of reasons why I wouldn’t want to travel to Japan these days, but I can now add the Japanese Giant Hornet to the list. Being from the United States I am used to your standard yellow jacket. Japanese Giant Hornets are like the Godzilla of bee’s. Adult Giant Hornets can be more than 4 centimeters long, (that’s about an inch and a half), with a wingspan greater than 6 centimeters (about 2 and a half inches).
If one of these landed on your leg while you were sitting by the pool you probably wouldn’t be too happy about it but although the hornet looks scary it is not known to be very aggressive, much like the bee’s we see in the United States these Giant Hornets are only aggressive if it feels like it is threatened. On the down side due to the Giant Hornets large size if you do happened to get stung it will be extremely painful and likely require a hospital visit.
These Giant Hornets are beneficial however as they have a diet of mostly crop pests. They are a perfect example of how all animals, even the annoying ones, are an important part of the ecosystem.
In Japan the Giant Hornets are not as popular as the regular European Honey Bees because they do not produce enough honey, but they seem to have a sense of territory and will attack and kill regular honey bees which leaves bee keepers with quite a problem on their hands. Great lengths have been taken to assure the safety of standard European honey bee’s in Japan.