It's the stuff of nightmares: bodies lining a morgue in China all bear the same bullet wound sized craters in their skin. But the victims didn't die in a shootout, they were stung to death by swarms of hornets the size of an adult thumb.
Swarms of hornets have killed more than 42 people and injured more than 1,640 in northern China over the past 3 months, Breitbart.com reports.
Local experts identified the beastly critters as the Asian giant hornet, which can grow up to 2 inches long.
The hornet stings can lead to anaphylactic shock and a painful death. Victims compare the stings to acid being injected under the skin or hot nails being driven into their bodies.
206 people have been hospitalized in the city of Ankang -- where the most attacks occurred.
"With the development of air-conditioning, urban landscaping and residential environment, hornets have started to migrate and relocate to cities, which has increased the probability of their hurting people," the official news agency Xinhua said in a report Wednesday.
"Furthermore, hornets are sensitive to bright colours, the smell of human sweat, alcohol, perfume, any specially scented articles and things that are sweet as well as the running of humans or animals," said Huang Rongyao, a senior official.
Huang added that $980,000 was allocated for pest control to help combat the varmints in the city of Ankang.
The Asian giant hornets are very predatory and they hunt smaller insects, such as honeybees and other hornets.
One victim said, "the more you run, the more they want to chase you."
In a video released by Xinhua, firefighters are seen spraying large hornets nets with industrial strength pesticides before removing them.
Let's hope these hideous bugs don't migrate to the U.S. anytime soon.