Pablo Larrazabal’s attack by hornets that were three times the size of bees ended when the golfer jumped into a lake. “I’ve never been so scared,” said Larrazabal. "They were huge and like 30 or 40 of them started to attack me big time.” As reported by ESPN on April 18, the golfer needed on-course medical attention after the vicious giant hornet attack – but he continued to play.
Golfer Larrazabal was at the 14th hole during round two of the Malaysian Open on Friday when he swatted an insect away from his face. Little did he know that the insect was a hornet and that it was not alone. Before he knew it, 30 to 40 more vicious hornets joined their buddy and gave the golfer a run for his life.
"They were three times the size of bees," said the Spanish golfer according to a CNN report. "They were huge and 30 or 40 of them started to attack me big time. I didn't know what to do. My caddy told me to run, so I start running like a crazy guy, but the hornets were still there, so the other players told me to jump in the lake. I ran to the lake, threw my scorecard down, took off my shoes and jumped in the water. It was the scariest moment of my career, for sure. I've never been so scared."
Hornets are considered to be the largest wasps and can reach up to 2.2 inches (5.5 cm) in length. The insects are widely distributed throughout Europe, Russia, North America and Northeast Asia. According to Discover Magazine, unlike bees, hornets can sting repeatedly because their stingers are not barbed into the human skin and pulled out of their bodies. Their venom contains acetylcholine, a powerful pain stimulant. The stings of the Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica) are the most venomous known. They reportedly cause 30 to 50 human deaths annually in Japan and in 2013 caused 42 deaths in China in just three months.
The toxicity of hornet stings can lead to allergic reactions and individuals can go into anaphylactic shock and die unless treated promptly. Fortunately for Larrazabal, he was able to leave the lake and was immediately given medical attention by the referees and a doctor. He was told to relax and received a couple of injections for his 20 hornet stings.
However, according to ESPN’s report, when Larrazabal put his shirt back on, the hornets also returned, so he continued to play in a borrowed shirt. Feeling better after the injections and with the help of another shirt, the golfer continued to play and birdied the 14th hole.
Despite Pablo Larrazabal’s hornet attack, the 30-year-old Spanish professional golfer (who is ranked 65th in the world) will go into the weekend at the Malaysian Open tied for 25th place. As to any potential encounter with the hornets, Larrazabal said that “it looks like I'll be playing the weekend, so tomorrow it will be very, very scary to play that hole. I'm not sure what I'm going to do, but hopefully I will play it as quickly as I can."