The Jakarta Post
Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo has ordered all regents to conduct a regular patrol to locate and terminate the nests of Vespa affinis, deadly hornets locally known as tawon endhas.
The hornets are notorious for their aggressive behavior and powerful sting, which can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction. Their stings have claimed the lives of 10 people in Klaten since 2016 and nine people in Pemalang since last year.
“I have asked the regents to conduct patrols to find the hornets and to check the situation,” the governor said in Semarang on Wednesday.
The Klaten regency administration has recorded 667 hornet stings in the last three years. Sukoharjo residents have destroyed 400 hornet nests this year.
Every day, the Boyolali disaster mitigation agency receives two to three calls from residents seeking help destroying the nests.
Similar attacks have also occurred in other regencies, such as Kudus.
Ganjar said that if the local authorities could not handle the attacks, the Central Java administration would deploy a special team to assist them.
“We need to move quickly. I have called a number of agencies. They expressed their readiness to help, but so far we have not received any requests for help,” he said.
Ganjar asked the regents to declare a state of emergency if they started to lose ground in the “war against the hornets”. The emergency status would allow provincial-level agencies and researchers to support the regencies.
Researchers from Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, have expressed their willingness to study the hornet attacks in Klaten, the governor said.
Ganjar hoped that the researchers could determine the cause of the attacks, whether they were a result of habitat encroachment or other factors.
“The researchers can also find ways or tools to protect people from hornet attacks,” he said.
It has been suggested that the hornet attacks in Klaten are due to its environment. Many residential areas in Klaten are surrounded by agricultural fields.
The hornets get food from the fields and they build nests within residents’ houses to protect themselves from weather and predators, like the crested honey buzzard.