The Murder Hornet (aka Asian Giant Hornet) gets its nickname from the fact that it literally kills people. Originating in Japan, the hornet is large and dangerous. It was responsible for 50 deaths in Japan last year alone.
The hornet (Vespa mandarinia) has a quarter inch stinger than can be used repeatedly. This is unlike regular honey bees which can only sting once and have a stinger than is 1/16 of an inch in length. The Murder Hornet is about two inches in length at full adult size.
It actually attacks honey bees and steals their honey to use as food. The hornet’s stinger is powerful enough to penetrate beekeeper suits. There is nothing positive about this thing making landfall in the United States.
First reports of it showing up in Washington state have surfaced. It is estimated that it could be on the east coast within 2-3 years but sooner if it is able to hitch rides on trucks moving cross country.
Washington state entomologist Chris Looney says this: “This is our window to keep it from establishing. If we can’t do it in the next couple of years, it probably can’t be done.” So, there is still hope of keeping this thing under control.
As you probably know, America’s honeybees are a vital part of our ecology. They pollinate plants and produce honey. Any threat to our honeybees should be taken with the utmost seriousness.
image from Purdue.edu