The best way to kill China’s deadly giant hornets: Meet the “divine gun” and “hornet pouch”

The best way to kill China’s deadly giant hornets: Meet the “divine gun” and “hornet pouch”

That’s how the People’s Liberation Army destroys the nests of the giant wasps that have been terrorizing China’s Shaanxi province: with a flamethrower (h/t RocketNews24). But what happens when there’s not just one nest, but thousands, all of them containing unusually irritable giant hornets, and the national guard is nowhere to be found?

The people of Shaanxi have their own time-tested traditional methods, the “six stratagems of war” (link in Chinese): attacking hornets by sack, fire, water, smoke, poison or fire extinguisher. The two most commonly used are the sack attack (dose the nest with pesticide, then throw a canvas bag over the hornet’s nest and yank it out by the roots) and the fire method (douse the end of a long wooden pole in fuel, light it and try to burn the hornets and their nest).

The tried and true methods worked fine in the past, but his year’s spate of crazed hornet attacks, which have already claimed 42 human lives, requires a little more sophistication. Enter the ingenuity of the Shangzhou district fire brigade of Shangluo city. They just rolled out two devices that, despite their improvised appearances, are at the cutting edge of hornet-killing technology. Behold, the “divine gun“…

… and the “hornet pouch” (links in Chinese):

The “divine gun” is basically a welding gun mounted on a long pole, with a flame that reaches 2,000°C (3,632°F) and can torch a massive hornet colony (link in Chinese) in five minutes, wiping out all the hornets in the area, according to one journalist.

The “hornet pouch” is a double-thick canvas bag mounted on a hoop about 1 meter (3.3 feet) in diameter, which can be closed using an elastic band, and which is attached to an extendable rod. After two people steady the device and place it over the nest, another pulls a rope tied to the opening, cinching the bag shut. (It’s unclear how the contents are then disposed of.)

The combination of of the two has reportedly shortened the time it takes to wipe out a hornet’s nest from an hour to about 10 minutes, enabling the local team of hornet-killers to eradicate 300 nests in a couple of weeks.

The Shangzhou fire brigade is hoping it can get the word out (link in Chinese) about its inventions. Shaanxi’s a big province and though attacks appear to have calmed in severity and frequency, they’re still happening. (Fatalities have slowed since early October, but it’s not clear if that’s because of less hornet activity, more awareness, or successful eradication).

Meanwhile, hornet attacks are spreading out of Shaanxi. An assault on schoolchildren in Guangxi province left one child with 200 stings on his head and many more suffering multiple organ failure, as Beijing Cream, a Beijing-based blog, flags.

They’re also hitting the cities (link in Chinese). One person has died of hornet attacks in Xi’an, Shaanxi’s capital, while others have been stung to death in Chongqing. And one Ms. Zhang, who lives in Beijing, found this (link in Chinese, registration required) in her home (the nest is of mafeng, which can refer to giant hornets as well as other types of hornet):


Hornets are wasps of the genus Vespa, closely related to (and resembling) yellowjackets.

There are about 20 hornet species. Most live in tropical Asia, but the insects are also found in Europe, Africa, and North America, where the European hornet was introduced by humans.

These social insects construct hives by chewing wood into a papery construction pulp. They mature from egg to adult inside the community hive.

Queens dominate hornet hives and are the only females to reproduce. Most other hornets are asexual female workers that perform essential community duties such as building the hive, gathering food, feeding the young, and protecting the colony. Males are few and they have only one real role—mating with the queen. Males typically die soon after their sexual task is complete.

In colder climes, hornet nests are abandoned in winter and only new, young queens (and their eggs) survive the season by finding protected areas under tree bark or even inside human dwellings. In the spring, such a queen will begin a new nest, and soon her young will become workers and take over the chores of the new hive—leaving the queen to tend to reproduction. She will produce more workers to expand the hive and then, before she dies, yield a breeding generation of new queens and males (drones) to restart the cycle of life.

These insects eat some tree sap but they are also accomplished predators. A hornet hive will eliminate many flies, bees, and other insects.

Workers defend their hive with potent stingers. Though these insects do not sting humans unless provoked, some people are allergic to their venom and can have very dangerous reactions to a sting.

Hornets are often considered pests, particularly when they nest near humans, because they will defend a nest aggressively if they feel it is threatened. Though many people fear their sting, hornets usually get the worst of such encounters when their nests are poisoned or destroyed. In some areas, such as Germany, they are granted protection to preserve their role in the ecosystem.

Hornet Nest Removal – How To Get Rid of A Hornets Nest

September 25, 2019

Hornets’ Nest Treatment Methods:

Things to avoid:

Do not do this during the daytime hours. You are more likely to get stung.

Don’t use gasoline. This is just plain dangerous and there are stories of fires, injuries, and property lost.

6 Steps for Hornet Nest Removal:

1. Plan your attack.

Have everything ready and at your disposal (ladders, pruning shears, garbage bag, light source etc.).

2. Plan your treatment for after sunset.

This should help you eliminate the maximum number of hornets since everyone should be home.

3. Keep any light source you use away from you.

The hornets will attempt to attack it over you because they are unable to see well in the dark and will head to the light. Make sure you’re not lighting yourself up as a target. You may also choose to use something that extends your reach if you are not close to the hive. The hornets will be unable to tell where the danger is coming from.

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Have a quick knockdown product approved for use on wasps and hornets that will kill almost on contact. If you use a steamlike spray be prepared to have to break open the nest to get everyone.

4. If at all possible find a thick garbage bag and bag the nest for treatment.

No one will be able to find the way out and you can treat inside the bag to get the whole hive, plus you’re ready to dispose of it once you are finished.

5. Safety first.

The thicker the clothing you can wear, the better. This should provide some defense against stings. The best option would be to wear a bee suit with a vale to cover your face. Protect your eyes and face as much as you can while still being able to perform the task at hand.

Traps can work but might not eliminate the entire hive. They may help if you are unable to locate the hive.

Dusts approved for use on wasp and hornets are excellent but take time to have an effect. If you are able, this is the safest option. Application can be tricky but if done stealthily, you can avoid conflict. Apply the dust at night to the entrance ramp or hole.

6. Be cautious, and again, if the task seems intimidating, reconsider hiring a pest professional.

If the information and tips provided helped, share with us in the comment section below. For more expert pest control tips, check out our guide.

For more information:

“Controlling wasps, hornets and yellow jackets,” University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

“Wasp and bee control,” University of Minnesota Extension

Do you have a question about bugs or pest control? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know on our Facebook page, in the comment section below, or by tweeting @insightpest. You may see the Bug Doctor’s answer to your question in a future post.

The Bug Doctor: Adam Villareal, owner and president of Insight Pest Solutions, entomology nerd, and family man. To help demystify the world of bugs, the Bug Doctor answers your questions during our weekly “Ask the Bug Dr.” blog feature. You can submit your bug and pest control inquiries for him on our Facebook page, by tweeting @insightpest, or commenting below.

How to Kill Hornets Without Poison

You don’t need pesticides to ward off hornets.

John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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It’s difficult to enjoy the outdoors on your porch or in your garden with hornets buzzing around your head. Hornets eat other pests, such as flies and grasshoppers, but they also like to dine on beneficial honeybees. They’re attracted to sweet foods and they’ll devour fruit and damage trees for their sap. Pesticide sprays will get rid of hornets, but if you prefer to avoid chemicals, you can try a safer pest-control approach.

Set out hornet traps, available at many garden centers and hardware stores, around the nest. Bait the traps with jam and honey in the late summer and fall. Protein-based baits, such as meat scraps and cat food, work better during the rest of the year. Hornets will enter the traps to feed but won’t be able to escape.

Cover the entrance to in-ground hornet’s nests with a bowl. This keeps hornets from entering and exiting. Leave the bowl in place to ensure all the trapped hornets die.

Pour boiling water into the hornet’s nest entrance. Plain or soapy water can be used.

Knock the hornet’s nest into a cloth bag using a long-poled tool, such as a pruning hook. Quickly seal the top before the insects have a chance to escape. Put the bag in a bucket of water and then set a large rock or brick on top of it to keep it submerged. You may want to ask someone to help you with this. One person can hold open the bag while the other knocks the nest into it. Wear protective clothing, including a veiled hat. Seal the bottoms of your pant legs with rubber bands so hornets can’t fly up them.

Things You Will Need

  • Hornet traps
  • Jam or honey
  • Meat scraps
  • Bowl
  • Liquid soap
  • Long-poled tool
  • Cloth bag
  • Bucket
  • Rock
  • Rubber bands
  • It’s best to eliminate hornet’s nests in the evening, since most wasps have returned home by that time.


  • If hornets have built a nest in your walls, do not try to remove it yourself. Contact an exterminator or professional pest-removal service.

References (4)

Resources (3)

About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, «The Colt,» writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.

Hornets in the country — how and what to destroy?

Residents of apartments rarely faced with the destruction of wasp nests can not be said about the summer residents and people who live in private homes. Therefore, many are wondering how to destroy the hornets’ nest quickly and without hassle.

How to destroy the hornets’ nest under the roof: the options

Tough measures liquidation

All of the «operation» to eliminate the hornet’s nest is carried out at night when the outdoor temperature is below the average. The person needs necessarily to dress up in a tight suit for protection against insects, needed gloves and a special mask for beekeepers.

One of the most common questions: how to destroy the hornets’ nest under the roof? The nest can be liberally sprayed with kerosene. Since nest material — chopped wood, kerosene, then instantly penetrates and affects the respiratory system of the OS. Insects are killed immediately.

If the nest is located in an inconvenient location for destruction and there is no access to it, then the output from this place zapenivayut thoroughly, leaving no single slits.

Everyone’s favorite dichlorvos is best used when the nest after spraying can be directly isolated from the fresh air. Typically, this is done using a tight plastic bag.

This method requires a certain agility and dexterity. The man quietly approaches the nest, carefully throws him tight package made of polyethylene, abruptly separates it and closes the package. After that, with the package, you can do anything that comes to mind is to burn at the stake or pour boiling water in a large container.

How to get rid humanity?

If the soul of man does not want to kill living beings, then he can with a clear conscience to take up the relocation of the OS to another location. This is done with the help of the following ways:

  • jack pack in the package, but instead of destroying it simply refers to a deserted place where the wasps do no harm to anyone. This operation should be done with great caution at night;
  • at a distance of 15-20 cm from the nest positioned substances with a strong smell (red pepper, «Domestos», as used motor oil). Pungent smell not like insects, and they will not hesitate to move to another place.
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In winter, the nest can be safely removed and destroyed, as live animals there. But that during the warm season the wasps did not return to their old habitat, the area of ​​the former nest to be treated with insecticide. The insects will fly directly in search for a more suitable place of residence.

Before you destroy the hornets’ nest in the ground, you need to think that the world all beings perform their functions. So do not kill insects, it is better to expel them by using the above methods.

What are Asian hornets and do they sting?

ASIAN hornets are invasive species with a deadly sting that were first spotted in the UK in 2016.

We take a look at their expansion into Europe and what to do if you spot one.

What are Asian hornets?

Asian hornets, which have the Latin name Vespa velutina, are large insects that prey on smaller creatures, especially bees.

Experts are worried the hornets could have a devastating impact on Britain’s already dwindling honey bee population.

Asian hornets look similar to native European hornets but with darker colouring.

Queens grow up to 3cm in length, and workers up to 2.5cm.

Their bodies are dark brown or black, and bordered with a yellow band, while they have one band across the abdomen.

Their legs are brown with yellow ends and they have an orange face.

When did Asian hornets come to Britain?

Asian hornets arrived in France inside Chinese pot plants in 2004 and are increasingly common across the Channel.

Since then British beekeepers have been sent warnings by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Wildlife experts warned it was «just a matter of time» before Asian hornets appear in Britain to threaten the beleaguered bee population.

In 2016 the invasive species was spotted in Gloucestershire.

Nicola Spence, Defra Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health, said: «We have been anticipating the arrival of the Asian hornet for some years and have a well-established protocol in place to eradicate them and control any potential spread.

«It is important to remember they pose no greater risk to human health than a bee, though we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies. That’s why we are taking swift and robust action to identify and destroy any nests.

In April 2020, a new report suggested the insects could cost the economy millions of pounds.

French scientists estimated yearly cost for eradicating Asian hornets would be 11.9million euros (£10.5million) for France, 9million euros (£8million) for Italy and 8.6million euros (£7.6million) for the UK.

Can Asian hornets sting?

Asian hornets contain a neurotoxin that can kill in just a single sting.

The sting also holds eight chemicals that can cause an allergic shock in humans. In France, six people have already died from anaphylactic shock after being stung.

Concern has also been raised about the potential arrival of the Asian hornet in the UK because the beasts are known to attack honey bees, whose numbers already dwindling.

There are now just 25 native species of honey bee in the UK and numbers may be as low as 50,000 at the height of summer.

Some experts believe the hornets eat as many as 50 bees a day and government officials are already coming up with plans to combat the arrival of the killer Asian hornet on our shores.

The hornets have jaws strong enough to chew through protective bee clothing and feed them to larvae.

What happens if you spot them?

The Asian hornet is a day-flying species which, unlike the European hornet, ceases activity at dusk.

It nests in tall trees in urban and rural areas, and nests can also be found in sheds, garages, under decking or in holes in the wall or ground.

Disturbing a hornets’ nest can be extremely dangerous as up to 700 insects will join in an attack on any perceived threat.

Asian hornet identified in Devon

An Asian hornet has been found in the Devon area.

An example of an Asian hornet.

The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of the Asian hornet at an apiary near Woolacombe in Devon.

The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees.

This is the first confirmed sighting since last year, when a nest was discovered in the Tetbury area in Gloucestershire. That Asian hornet incursion was successfully contained by bee inspectors who promptly tracked down and destroyed the nest.

Work to identify, destroy and remove any nests is already underway, which includes:

setting up a surveillance zone around North Devon

opening a local control centre to coordinate the response

deploying bee inspectors across the area who will use infrared cameras and traps to track hornets and locate any nests

readying nest disposal experts who will use pesticides to kill the hornets and destroy any nests

Nicola Spence, Defra Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health, said:

While the Asian Hornet poses no greater risk to human health than a bee, we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies. That’s why we are taking swift and robust action to locate and destroy any nests in the Devon area following this confirmed sighting.

Following the successful containment of the Asian hornet incursion in Gloucestershire last year, we have a well-established protocol in place to eradicate them and control any potential spread.

We remain vigilant across the country, working closely with the National Bee Unit and their nationwide network of bee inspectors.

A local control centre will be opened this week in North Devon and bee inspectors from APHA National Bee Unit will be carrying out surveillance and monitoring initially in a 1-2 km radius around the initial sighting.

They will be supported by nest disposal experts who will use an approved pesticide to destroy any hornets and remove any nests.

The free Asian Hornet Watch reporting app, launched last March and downloaded 6500 times already, allows people to quickly and easily report possible sightings of the invasive species and send pictures of suspect insects to experts at the National Bee Unit.

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The cost of eradication on private land will be met by APHA.

Anyone who believes they have found a nest should not go near it and report it using the Asian Hornet Watch app which is available to download from the Apple and Android app stores.

The hornet found near Woolacombe is currently undergoing both DNA testing at the National Bee Unit in North Yorkshire to help establish how it arrived in the UK.

Members of the public can also report sightings by email to [email protected] with a photo or on the Great Britain Non-native Species Secretariat website.

The Great Britain Non-native Species Secretariat is a joint venture between Defra, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government to tackle the threat of invasive species. More information can be found on their website.

For details on the appearance of an Asian hornet please can be found on Bee Base guide or the non-native species identification guide.

How to Get Rid of Multiple Hornet Nests in a Bush

Avoid shaking or jostling a bush that contains one or more hornet nests.

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Finding a nest of stinging insects in your yard is never good, and hornets can be particularly difficult to get rid of without being stung. Although more mild-mannered than yellow jackets, hornets aggressively defend their nests and will come after you if you disturb them. A single nest can house several hundred hornets. Use caution when dealing with a nest so you don’t find yourself frantically running away from a swarm of angry insects. Take extra care when dealing with multiple nests in one bush to ensure you don’t jostle one nest while dealing with another nest. The only situation worse than one nest full of angry hornets is two nests full of them.

Examine the hornet nests carefully during daylight hours. Locate each nest’s entrance hole, and find all other holes in each nest. If a nest has a second entrance hole, plan to treat both entrances quickly with hornet insecticide foaming spray or to enlist a friend to help so both holes can be sprayed at the same time. Do not shake, bump or otherwise disturb the bush while examining the hornet nests, and get only as close as you must to locate the nests’ entrance holes.

Plan an escape route during daylight hours. Decide where you will go if angry hornets escape the nest or nests during the spray treatment. Ensure the path you plan to take is free of debris and other hazards.

Dress for the occasion. Wear two pairs of loose-fitting jeans and several thick, long-sleeved shirts. Seal your pant legs with duct tape or a large rubber bands, and tuck them into sturdy work boots. Tuck your shirts inside your pants. Wear protective glasses to avoid getting chemicals in your eyes. Put on a thick hat with netting hanging from it. Attach the netting to your chest and back with duct tape to keep the hornets out, but leave the netting loose enough so you can move. Put on thick gloves, and tuck them into your shirt sleeves.

Approach one of the hornet nests after dark, when the hornets have returned to the nest. Do not disturb the bush, alerting the insects to your presence. Stay at least 10 feet from the nest at all times, getting only as close to the nest as required to use hornet insecticide foaming spray. Do not stand directly under the nest. That position increases the odds that you will be covered in insecticide or stung.

Aim the hornet insecticide foaming spray at the nest’s entrance hole, and begin spraying, completely saturating the hole and surrounding area. If the nest has more than one entrance hole, spray one hole and then quickly spray the second hole, or have a helper spray the second entrance hole as you spray the first hole. Avoid spraying the bush because the insecticide may damage its foliage. Continue spraying, working your way around the nest until the entire nest is wet with the spray.

Repeat this process until you have sprayed all of the nests in the bush.

Watch the nests for signs of hornet activity during the following few days. If you continue to see hornets going in and out of a nest, treat that nest with a second round of insecticide spray. When all activity stops, put on your protective clothing, including gloves and hat with netting, and carefully remove and dispose of the nests.

Things You Will Need

  • 2 loose-fitting jeans
  • Several thick, long-sleeved shirts
  • Duct tape
  • Large rubber bands (optional)
  • Sturdy work boots
  • Protective glasses
  • Thick hat with netting
  • Thick gloves
  • Flashlight with red filter (optional)
  • Hornet insecticide foaming spray
  • If the nests are in a remote corner of the yard where they will not cause problems, consider waiting until winter to remove and destroy the nest when you can do so safely and easily. When cold weather approaches, a single fertilized female hornet leaves the nest and finds a safe place to wait for spring, at which time she builds a new nest and begins laying eggs. All of the other hornets in the nest die, and old nests are never reused.
  • If a few hornets drop out of the nest during treatment, simply spray them with the insecticide, and they will drop to the ground.


  • Never use a flashlight when dealing with a hornet’s nest at night. Hornets will follow the beam of light to you and attack. If you must use a flashlight, however, do so only after applying a red filter to its light.
  • Do not attempt to deal with hornet nests yourself if you have any reason to believe you might be allergic to hornet stings. Swarms of stinging insects are dangerous even for people who are not allergic to stings. Call a professional exterminator if you have any doubts about dealing with the nests by yourself.
  • If you need a ladder to reach the nests, leave the job of getting rid of the nests to a professional exterminator. If the spray treatment goes badly, it is much more difficult to get away from the nests safely if you are on a ladder.

References (5)

About the Author

Writing professionally since 2008, Michelle Miley specializes in home and garden topics but frequently pens career, style and marketing pieces. Her essays have been used on college entrance exams and she has more than 4,000 publishing credits. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in accounting, having graduated summa cum laude.

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