How did these nearly 3 inch long hornets make it to America? Karla Salp, a spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Agriculture, said it was unclear how the hornets, which reportedly kill up to 50 people a year in Japan, arrived in the U.S.
A likely theory is that these two Asian giant hornets got to America by unknowingly catching a ride on some type of shipping container that brought them here.
Besides the two individual specimens there has only been one discovered nest that has been destroyed. Scientists suspect there are probably more of the insects than just the two spotted last year, which is why a public outreach campaign has been launched to help with eradication efforts.
Scientists warn that unless the insect is eliminated in the next couple years, it could spread in North America and become permanently established.
Salp said the hornets, which are native to East Asia and Japan, don’t usually attack people, but they are known for decimating honeybee colonies.
“In general, people do not need to worry,” she said. “As long as you don’t step in a nest or approach a beehive they have taken over, there is a fairly low risk that you will be stung.
“That being said, if you are stung, their venom is more toxic than that of local bees and wasps, and they have more of it,” she added.
In 2018, YouTube personality Coyote Peterson demonstrated what the sting is like on his show “Brave Wilderness.” The video shows an “instant goose egg” forming on his arm where the hornet stung.
Murder Hornets Conclusion
In Japan, where the insects are hunted and eaten, some 30 to 50 people die each year from their venomous and excruciating sting.
But while the giant hornets are typically not harmful to humans, they do pose a great danger to bee populations, which have been declining in many parts of the world.
Washington State University researchers said the hornets attack the bee hives, decapitating and killing the adults and eating the larvae and pupae. Just a few of the hornets can completely destroy a hive in a matter of hours.
The hornets then occupy honeybee nests for up to a week or more, feeding on the pupae and larvae.
However painful their stings may be to us but they pose an extremely large and serious threat to our honeybee populations and our agriculture as a whole. If you happen to see or come in contact with one of the Asian giant hornets please contact your department of agriculture.
Vice video on Asian Giant Hornets: