We cannot say for sure that the spread of giant hornets in China is related to climate change, even though there are elements that link the two things. So, we may not be able to use the IPCC jargon to state that the link is "likely" or "very likely," or whatever. And yet, it may be "likely" that this kind of news could be somewhat more effective than the ponderous IPCC reports in communicating the dangers ahead.
From Desdemona Despair by Jim
By Madison Park, Dayu Zhang, and Elizabeth Landau
3 October 2013
HONG KONG (CNN) – A thumb-sized wasp with an orange head has killed dozens of people in China and injured more than 1,500 with its powerful venomous sting.
The Asian giant hornet, known scientifically as Vespa mandarinia, carries a venom that destroys red blood cells, which can result in kidney failure and death, said Justin O. Schmidt, an entomologist at the Southwest Biological Institute in Tucson, Arizona.
But perhaps a bigger problem than the toxicity of the venom is allergy, Schmidt says. Some people are naturally more allergic to stinging insects than others; a sting can trigger a deadly anaphylactic reaction, which may involve airway closure or cardiac arrest.
The giant hornets, the largest hornet species in the world, have killed 42 people and injured 1,675 people in three cities in Shaanxi province since July, according to the local government. Thirty-seven patients remain in critical or serious condition.
In person, the Asian giant hornet looks like "the wasp analog of a pit bull" with "a face that looks like you just can't reason with it," said Christopher K. Starr, professor of entomology at University of West Indes in Trinidad & Tobago.
The spate of attacks could be caused by the unusually dry weather in the area, authorities say. The arid environment makes it easier for hornets to breed. Urbanization could also be a contributing factor, as humans move into hornets' habitats.
Some experts cited in Xinhua stated additional factors such as increased vegetation and a decrease in the hornets' enemies, such as spiders and birds, because of ecological changes.