The authorities have again urged people to exercise extreme caution and wear protective clothing when hiking or walking in the wilderness, after yet another fatal hornet attack, the third this year.
The body of the latest victim, surnamed Liu (劉), was found on Monday in the hills of Hansi Village (寒溪村) in Yilan County’s Datong Township (大同).
Liu, a Chunghwa Telecom employee, heard that a colleague surnamed Huang (黃) had found large numbers of hornets buzzing around his property in the Yilan village.
Sixty-four-year-old Liu, who lived in New Taipei City (新北市), volunteered to remove the hornet nests. After successfully taking down and wrapping up one nest on Saturday last week, Liu went up again, alone, on Sunday to remove another nest, but he did not return that day.
Huang called the search and rescue team at the local fire department, and they recovered his body on Monday.
Liu was found wearing makeshift gear comprised of boots, a rubber raincoat, hat and head net, and with a towel wrapped around his neck. He had used tape to seal the gaps.
However, a rescue team member said there were holes and breaks in his clothing, and they found four hornets in the towel around his neck.
“His face was stung by hornets. The insects attacked him and entered through the holes and gaps in his clothing. He was not wearing the kind of protective gear worn by professionals. It seems he underestimated what the hornets could do,” search and rescue team captain Chen Po-ching (陳保慶) said.
Chen said they encountered large hornet swarms flying around the area, and three nests were found.
He said that the species in question is very aggressive and carries a highly toxic venom. A person can die from just two stings.
“The victim’s makeshift gear had lots of gaps, it was not thick enough, and wearing a towel around the neck could not protect him,” Chen said.
“People must not go removing hornet nests unless they are well-prepared and have the right type of professional protective gear,” he added.
The peak season for attacks is from August to November, when hornets are preparing for winter and will defend their nests against trespassers.
The hornets in this case were the Vespa ducalis species, known as “black-tailed tiger-head bees” (黑尾虎頭蜂), with bright orange-brown stripes and black at the anterior end.
This was the third reported fatality this year: A man, 47, working on a landscaping job at a school in Yilan County’s Jiaosi Township (礁溪) was killed by hornets on Aug. 7. A woman, 67, died from hornet stings at Taitung County’s Chihshang Township (池上) on Sept. 4.
People should avoid eating too many zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), as consuming several in one meal could cause indigestion, bloating, gastric acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach ailments, a doctor said on Saturday. Zongzi is a traditional delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, which was on Thursday. Citing a recent case as an example, Cathay General Hospital gastroenterology department head Chu Yu-ming (朱淯銘) said that a 58-year-old taxi driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) ate meals at irregular hours due to his work and has been taking diabetes medicine for three years. Hsiao recently bought a bag of zongzi and ate
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
While stereotypically considered a household pest that simply will not die, Hung Ting-yang’s (洪鼎揚) experience with Archimandrita tesselata, commonly called the peppered roach, might change a person’s mind. The peppered roach originates in South America, is omnivorous and, as it is capable of growing to 7cm to 9cm long, is a giant compared with other roaches, which have an average length of about 4cm. The peppered roach goes through six separate chrysalis stages and takes nine months to reach full maturity. Mature roaches have wings, but cannot fly and can only glide. They have an average lifespan of three years. As his
The EU’s list of safe nations to which it would reopen borders next week does not include Taiwan, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the list has not been finalized and some EU countries have highlighted the importance of “reciprocity.” The provisional list comprises Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the Vatican, the New York Times reported on Friday. The EU said it would add China, considered one of the “acceptable countries,” if it also opens its borders to EU travelers, the newspaper reported. Backed by