Man dies after being stung by wasps


A 64-year-old man died after he was stung by sparrow wasps in Koka, Shiga Prefecture, police said Friday.

According to police, the man, identified as Tatsuo Oyama, was cutting weeds at a cemetery when he was attacked by the wasps at around 4 p.m. Thursday, TBS reported. A passerby found him collapsed on the ground.

Police said Oyama was stung on his left arm and neck. He was taken to hospital where he died a short time later. The cause of death was anaphylactic shock.

Police said there was a wasps' nest in the hollow between two stone walls in the area where Oyama was working.

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Exactly like regular wasps, but twice a big. Avoid like the plague.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This article should probably refer to those insects as "asian giant hornets", or possibly just "giant hornets", which is what they are called in English, rather than using a direct English translation of the Japanese name.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

SenseNotSoCommon Exactly like regular wasps, but twice a big. Avoid like the plague

Very highly toxic for sure . . .

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Same thing happened last weekend to the mayor of a city outside of Montreal. She was gardening, and disturbed a wasp nest, got stung about 15 times and died soon after. What a rotten way to die.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Never heard Japanese giant hornets called "sparrow wasps" before. Makes them sound kinda cute.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Sparrow wasps.. as in "as big as a sparrow" wasp.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The "sparrow wasp" or "suzumebachi", otherwise known in English as a HORNET.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Translator also doesn't know that "wasp" is what they call Ashinaga Bachi in Japan. Something completely different from Giant Hornet/suzumebachi,

3 ( +4 / -1 )

According to Wiki, Thirty to forty people die in Japan every year after having been stung, which makes the Japanese giant hornet the second most lethal animal in Japan after humans (bears kill zero to five people and venomous snakes kill five to ten people each year). The most dangerous wild animal in Japan.

They are partial to honey bees (they rip off the head and legs and take the rest home to feed to their larvae) and can destroy a hive in less than three hours. European honey bees are particularly vulnerable. Japanese honey bees have a trick of ambushing the scout hornet, encasing it in a ball of up to 500 bees all beating their wings to heat up their own bodies and the inside of the ball, which rises to 47 degrees C. The high temperature and rising concentration of carbon dioxide inside the ball kills off the hornet. If the bees don't manage to kill the scout hornet, it releases pheromones that tell its pals where the hive is, and the bees are helpless against a concerted attack.

14 ( +15 / -2 )

I've been stung by one before. It was horrible.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

These hornets are most common in Japan and per sting the most venomous insect on the planet. And they're the size of a man's (a well built Caucasian man's) thumb not including the wingspan. They're utterly terrifying.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Truly horrifying insects. A friend of my wife's was stung once...she went to the hospital and was ok, but the doctors told her that if she was ever stung again, she would likely die.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If you live on Honshu, there is more chance of being killed by a wasp, than by a typhoon -- more coverage on this, I hope.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

they rip off the head and legs and take the rest home to feed to their larvae


0 ( +0 / -0 )

The "sparrow wasp" or "suzumebachi", otherwise known in English as a HORNET.

Hornets, unlike their bee domesticated cousins are friendly and usually are NOT aggressive unless provoked, hornets are a lot more aggressive, easily get agitated and most hive their hives in the hills and mountains where they don't come in too much contact with humans on a regular basis. Since they are more carnivorous, the females need MEAT to feed their young and if you have ever seen or been up close to a hornets nest, you will hear their larvae scrap the linings of their chamber cubicles begging for more food. These hornets will scrounge and pick up meat anywhere including going through trash bins and collecting bits and pieces of meat, chewing it up and taking it back to the hive and one easy source of meat is to go find a nice bee hive where you have thousands of bees which equals=meat. Never been stung by one, but these things sound like "Apache Helicopters" when they fly next to you it can startle the heck out of you for sure. I am extremely careful when they are around me, not to move and to stay calm, although, my instances tell me to run like a *****!

And they're the size of a man's (a well built Caucasian man's) thumb not including the wingspan. They're utterly terrifying.

You mean, other races have smaller inferior thumbs compared to a Caucasian man's? I thought it just depended on the person, not the race.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@songwillem2011 - You are mistaken my friend.

"Tests with mice find the venom not to be the most lethal, having an LD50 of 4.0 mg/kg, which compares to the deadliest wasp venom (to mice) by weight of Vespa luctuosa at 1.6 mg/kg. The potency of the sting is due to the relatively large amount of venom injected."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Either way, I am NOT going to be a willing victim to let anyone of these critters sting me, the hell with that!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I call them flying black golf balls. There have been a few deaths in the past on the hilly trails I like hiking near my house here in rural Japan, usually elderly people, kids and dogs. These Asian hornets are quite nasty. One Japanese woman I know was stung by one in her right eye while she was riding her bicycle. After a slow and painful recovery, she told me her doctor said she was extremely lucky she didn't go completely blind in that eye. We also have sizable hornets in the U.S., but they're quite a bit smaller and, dare I say, even less aggressive compared to the ones I've come across here. Also, it doesn't seem as though you come across hornets in the U.S. in public places as frequently as you do with Asian hornets here in Japan. They seem to pop up suddenly just about anywhere. Take care and stay out of their way as best you can.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Need to call these wasps "bullet wasps" - akin to the bullet ants of Paraguay that you definitely DON'T want to in your life.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Damn that's scarey!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These things are very dangerous! They kill one or two people every year. If you find one you should not kill it cos the release a hormone that attracts the whole colony. This old fella must have upset them pretty badly to sustain multiple bites. It's pretty much the same as any dangerous animal. If you leave them alone they'll leave you alone.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Even though I live in a suburb of Nagoya we get these hornets every year building their nests in a little bit of garden we have out front or attached to the side of the house. I have destroyed 2 nests so far this week, one today, with a spray. Horrible things. I have been stung once on the hand in a crowded subway train of all places in Nagoya. The station attendant told me they get sucked into the tunnels from air vents. I was wearing after shave, a no-no supposedly as it resembles their attack scent. I sprayed the nest during the day after putting on lots of clothes but it is best to do it at night when they are not active. The spray kills everything inside.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Where I lived before, there were lots of them around. Neighbors used to call the bug squad to come find their nests and get rid of them. If I saw one, I'd get as far from it as I could, grab the hose and soak it with water. It usually worked as they would speed off and never come back.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I see them most days in my garden, impressive but dangerous beasts, just don't intrude & you should have no problems with them, you often HEAR them before you see them because they generate some noise!!

JVisitor I am willing to be the ones nesting in your yard are NOT suzumebachi, if they are you had best call a pro to remove or your are seriously risking your life & your neighbours to boot!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The insect of my nightmares is alive and well and living in Japan. These are no so little monsters with wings, even the picture of them makes my skin crawl!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I thought I had heard these translated before as killer bees - even though they are not strictly bees. Am I mistaken If so, what was the Japanese for kiler bee then? It is going to drive me crazy till I find out!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

That's a shame. Poor unlucky fellow.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yak-killer is how this hornet is known in Japan. In fact during the summer months at least in Tokyo the public health officials use to give out warnings whenever these dreaded hornets would be in the midst. These hornets are often mistaken for a bird in the sky. They have such high levels of fatal neurotoxin pain-inducing compounds of mandaratoxin in the venom that gets released in the sting of the hornets and that's the killer. What's nasty is when you get stung you also receive pheromones that attract more hornets which increase your chances of being stung again.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Same thing happened to us, cleaning the family grave. Luckily someone spotted it in time!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am surprised these wasps haven't "hitched a ride" to North America like the Killer Bees and Fire Ants did many years ago. YIKES!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They kill one or two people every year. They kill about 20 year imho. In Japan in 2013 30 died of dangerous (non brute force) animal attacks including snakes, but hornets are the major part of that. They are territorial and attack. They make a clicking noise when angry. They can't see you against the ground so crawling, or retreating in a crouch away is recommended. They go for the eyes. My neighbour bats them from the air with the palm of his hand but, if you are stung they inject a pheromone that tells the other hornets from the hive to attack. The second time you are stung is more dangerous due to anaphylactic shock which kills in minutes to a couple of hours. Your blood pressure falls, you collapse, and stop breathing. You can get an "epi-pen" (epinephrine pen) for self-medication if you have been stung and have developed hornet/wasp sting allergy as a prescription (over the counter in Canada). You will need dialysis too since the venom also messes with the kidneys.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites