Swarms of aggressive hornets are having a deadly toll in the Chinese province of Shaanxi.
According to CNN, 42 people have been killed by the attacks so far, and more than 1,600 have been injured. Thirty seven patients remain in critical or serious condition.
These buzzing monsters aren't your typical insects. Government authorities say these attacks are from a particularly venomous species, known as the Asian giant hornet or vespa mandarinia, the world's largest hornet.
The giant hornets stay true to their name: they can grow up to two inches long with stingers as long as one-fifth of an inch. According to Shunichi Makino, director general of the Hokkaido Research Center for Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, the Asian giant hornet has a "special brand of venom" capable of dissolving human tissue and shutting down organs. They also attack in swarms of up to 5,000. Talk about deadly.
What's more frightening is the fact that these giant hornets tend to become even fiercer during mating season, in mid-October. Only in December do they finally hibernate.
Local officials claim that drier and warmer weather has led to a rise in the number of hornets. The arid environment makes it easier for them to breed and makes them more likely to attack. Local authorities are working to remove the unusually high number of hives while providing more than $1 million in aid to affected areas, CNN reports. So far, around 710 hives have been removed.