Saturday, September 4, 2010

Vespa Mandarina Japonica

I first saw this two-inch long hornet on the front balcony of my apartment in Shizuoka. It was flying at me head on, and I went right back inside and shut the door. I couldn't stay inside forever, though, so I learned to negotiate territory with this terrifying insect. I wasted a lot of time failing to get a photograph of this guy. (My thanks to the Korean animal pictures archive and uncredited photographer.) When I wrote American Fuji, I believed it was a bee and didn't have easy internet resources to discover it was a hornet. My apologies to my readers.

A lone bee veered at him, twice the size of a bumblebee, with orange markings that looked like an electrical outlet. As Alex stood still, waiting for the bee to pass, an iguana darted out of the dry weeds at his feet and darted back. He felt as though he had been dropped into some parched apocalyptic fantasy. [p.171]

7 comments:

SapphireSavvy said...

YIKES!!! Eep. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near that thing. It's okay you called it a "bee"--Alex wouldn't know!

Also, doesn't it almost look like a beefed-up comic book superhero between its eyes??

jenny milchman said...

Oh, ugh! I assume the bites are very painful?

Sara Backer said...

Really, they look like electrical outlets that fly in long, lazy swoops. Their venom can be lethal.

jenny milchman said...

Oh my god!! Terrifying--

Anonymous said...

I got stung by two of them in Japan when I was a child. They were hiding in my pajama!

Sara Backer said...

Yikes! What did you do?

Anonymous said...

They must have sneaked in my nice and warm pajama by the time it got cool and my mom took the washing from the balcony. It was painful but I'm proud of myself cuz I didn't cry.