Swarms of Angry Hornets Kill Three Locals in Indonesia

Three people have been killed by hornets in Indonesia over the last few weeks, an Indonesian health agency in the Klaten regency of the Central Java province confirmed Friday.

According to a report by AFP, it is not uncommon for swarms of hornets to attack and kill people in Indonesia, with hundreds of attacks reported in the last few years. 

One of the most recent victims, an 11-year-old student, died in the Indonesian province of West Java Wednesday after he and three of his peers attacked a hornet nest, provoking the insects. This month, two elderly people in the Central Java province were also killed by hornet stings.

The outlet reported that at least seven people in Indonesia were killed by hornets last year, and hundreds of others have been attacked by hornets over the last decade.

“All the health centers are now prepared to handle hornet attack cases,” Cahyo Widodo, head of Klaten’s health agency, is quoted as saying.

In addition, several volunteers are planning to destroy hornet nests in areas where the insects breed, AFP reported.

The hornet species prevalent in Asia is known as the Asian giant hornet, or Vespa mandarinia, which has a 0.2-inch-long stinger used to inject a poisonous venom known as a cytolytic peptide that causes tissue damage and eventually death. 

However, officials identified the hornet species that killed the 11-year-old as Vespa affinis, which is also known as the lesser banded hornet. It’s unclear if the rest of the hornet attacks were caused by Asian giant hornets or the Vespa affinis species. 

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