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Deadly Types of Wasps

Wasps and hornets are very intimidating insects; they move fast, sometimes in large groups, and they can inflict pain on people with their bites and stings. Sometimes their attacks can even inject so many toxins into a victim that it could be fatal. The level of severity of an attack depends on the size and species of hornet or wasp.

Giant Hornets

Yellow Jacket Wasp

These behemoth hornets can grow as large as 2 to 3 inches, with a 3- to 4-inch wingspan. Their stinger alone can be as long as a 1/4 inch. These insects are fearsome predators who dominate their particular food chain. One can kill up to 40 bees in a minute, and about a dozen or two can decimate an entire colony of roughly 30,000 to 50,000 bees in a couple of hours. The hornets deliver an enzyme with their attacks that is so powerful that it can destroy human tissue. Sometimes when their colonies are infringed upon, aggressive outbreaks can occur. Every year about 40 people die from giant hornet stings.

Yellow Jacket Wasps

These are what most people think of when they refer to bees. Their bodies look very aerodynamic; they're all yellow with black speckled throughout. This species rarely grows any larger than an inch, but they can still be very dangerous. Yellow jackets are a social wasp, meaning they live in colonies and generally hunt in parties. If you see one wasp, be wary, because there are probably others lurking about, and if one feels threatened it can call a swarm to their aid in dispelling the threat. Most often a single sting or bite is not deadly to a person unless allergic to bee and wasp stings (in which case a single sting can cause a person to go into anaphylactic shock and die). Most reported deaths for persons who are non-allergic are caused by shock, usually caused by a swarm attack, when the sheer volume of stings will cause so much pain that a person will go into shock from the trauma.

Killer Cicadas

Their name is quite misleading, as they are neither cicadas, nor more dangerous than any other wasp. They are so named because they can grow from 1-inch to 11/2-inches long, and their bodies are a rusty shade of brown, making them look almost like a giant cicada. They are a borrowing insect, who makes shelter in lose ground such as flower beds sand boxes, sand traps on a golf course or under dying turf.

About the Author

Based in Virginia, Raine Chasing has been ghost writing web content for private clients around the world since 2001. Chasing's articles have appeared on a large number of websites such as e-How.com and etown21.com, as well as the 2005 winter edition of "Lotus Magazine." She is currently pursuing a criminal justice degree and freelance photography certification in hopes of becoming a crime scene photographer.