Around 2-inch long murder hornets have entered the US for the first time ever. They are the Asian giant hornets called Vespa Mandarinia. These hornets kill around 50 people every year in Japan. They have the potential to devastate the already declining bee population in the US.
Susan Cobey, a bee breeder associated with Washington State University’s Department (WSUD) of Entomology, said that the hornets are like a monster cartoon that has a big yellow-orange face. These hornets have yellow-orange heads and prominent eyes. Their bodies are stripped in black and yellow, but their sting can be killing!
Murder hornets breed in April
The murder hornets entered the US in December 2019. The Washington State Department of Agriculture was first to confirm the report of their sightings. Later, they were spotted in two places of British Columbia. As per WSDA Scientists, the Asian hornets start breeding in April. Researchers told the WSU that when the hornets wake up from hibernation, they scout out spots to create an underground nest and grow colonies.
WSU Extension entomologist, Todd Murray told WSU Insider that the murder hornets are shocking large and a health hazard. The hornets are predators of honey bees and can jeopardize their existence.
Murder hornets are more active and dangerous during later summers and early fall. They ravage through honey bee and harm their population. Researchers at WSU said that they attack beehives and can kill adult bees. They also eat up the larvae and pupae. A few hornets can bring down a complete beehive within hours.
WSDA stated that hornets don’t usually go after humans. However, if they do even a beekeeping suit will not be able to protect them from stings.
Dangers of a murder hornet
YouTuber Coyote Peterson had posted a video in 2018 to show what a hornet sting looks like. He uploaded it as a part of his show ‘Brave Wilderness’. The video shows how an ‘instant goose egg’ forms on his arm when a hornet stung him. According to researchers, a murder hornet is extremely painful as it includes neurotoxins. Even if people are not allergic to a hornet sting, multiple stings can cause death.
An entomologist and beekeeper in Nanaimo, Conrad Bérubé, reported that he got stung by a murder hornet. His legs ache very bad and he has flu the following day. He also said that sting was the most painful thing he has ever experienced.
The Washington State officials are trying to track down the murder hornets and set up traps to keep away any possible harm. Moreover, locals are said to be alert of the insect and to take preventive measures to keep themselves safe.