Niseko, Japan


Beware of hornet’s activity this time of a year.


Nature and habits of hornets

Active in August and September

In Hokkaido most incidents caused by hornets are reported in August and September. Based on the number of hornets and the size of nests, hornets tend to be more aggressive in these months than usual.

Whites are not necessarily safe

Although it is said that hornets tend to be more aggressive toward the color black, there is no guarantee that white is safe. Hornets may tend not to approach the color white as easily as black.

Certain kinds of smells attract hornets

Not only sweet smells of juice and candies, but also the scent of perfume and hair spray attracts hornets.

Sensitive to rapid movements and loud sound

Even though they may not want to attack people, hornets can become agitated and aggressive when encountering rapid movements, such as trying to wave them off or loud sounds.

When you are approached by hornets…

Stay still

As mentioned above, hornets are very sensitive to rapid movements. In most cases, they are only looking for food or nesting material when they approach you. Unless there is a nest nearby, duck slowly when approached and stay still, and they will leave you alone.

You may not realize that you are approaching a nest.

Hornet’s nests can be located well out of sight. You may be approaching one without realizing it. When you are in mountains and fields, stay on established courses.

Hornets may attempt to warn you as you are approaching their nest. They will hover closely around you at first, and, if you ignore them and continue approaching, they would clap their mandibles and make noise to give you a final warning, saying, “Stop proceeding or you will be attacked.” If you hear them clacking, you are already in serious danger. Try to stay quiet, move slowly, and leave the area.

Are hornets pests or beneficial insects?

One benefit of hornets is that they will eat bugs which may destroy trees or crops. Hornets generally do not attack people unless agitated (such as a person approaching their nest). Understanding their nature and habits will help prevent any unnecessary accidents.

If you are stung by a hornet…

  1. Leave the area immediately. Move at least 50m away.
  2. Attempt to suck the venom out of the body. Insect poison removers can be purchased at stores, but if you don’t have one available, using your mouth to suck out the venom is said to be effective. Make sure you spit out the venom.
  3. Repeat step 2 to get all the venom out of your body.
  4. Ice the bite if possible and do not move around more than necessary.
  5. If you experience general symptoms such as palpitations, trouble breathing, dry mouth, cold sweats, dizziness, decreased blood pressure, numbness, nausea, or hives, see a doctor as soon as possible.

* If you have been stung by a hornet before or have an allergy, you may experience sudden hives and/or breathing difficulties within 15-30 minutes after being stung. If this is the case, a delay in treatment can be fatal. Please see a doctor immediately.

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