Clearing out bee and wasp nests in China is a task normally handled by the fire brigade.
But when a plague of Asian Giant Hornets struck Shaanxi province this month killing 41 people and injuring more than a thousand more, the locals decided to take on the job themselves.
Working under cover of darkness – when the highly venomous insects are asleep – the villagers donned padded overalls and motorcycle helmets before attempting to destroy the hornets’ homes. Their weapon of choice was a homemade flame thrower, dubbed the ‘divine gun’, which enabled them to incinerate the insects without getting too close.
In the case of the largest nests, mind you, the army was called in. They employed similar tactics, but on a bigger scale. An online video of one attack became a big hit when it showed soldiers in full camouflage gear and gas masks blasting a 1.5 metre tall nest with a heavy-duty military flame thrower.
The authorities in Ankang municipality – the ground zero of the insect attacks – say some 7,000 nests were destroyed, by soldiers and locals alike.
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