What are Murder Hornets? It seems like something that you’d read about in the Book of Exodus in the Bible as one of the plagues that affected the Egyptians. But alas, murder hornets are alive and well and are just another part of this crazy year.
Where did they come from?
In the first part of 2020, there were at least three new specimens of the Asian giant hornets, or murder hornets, discovered in the Pacific Northwest. While their sting is something that a person would not forget anytime soon, the damage they can do to the honey bee population is something that can’t be ignored. The murder hornet picked up its nickname by preying on honey bees. Working together, a few hornets are able to wipe out entire hives in a short amount of time. Not only are they capable of grabbing honey bees right out of the air, these vicious little suckers bite the heads off of the adult bees, leaving behind a wake of adult honey bee carcasses, while the young bees are fed to their young hornets.
Sounds like something straight out of a nightmare, right? Should I be worried? Well, murder hornets are definitely a nightmare for honey bees. Big time. Speaking of nightmares, murder hornets are the world’s largest hornet, with the queens growing up to two inches long. You read that right, TWO INCHES LONG, and unlike honey bees, they are able to sting multiple times, each sting feeling like being stabbed with a piping hot needle or thumb tack. The nickname of this insect is also appropriate given that multiple stings from Asian giant hornets can be fatal to humans, killing as many as 50 humans per year in Asia. In late October of 2020, a nest of murder hornets was discovered in Washington State, the first in the United States.
While the race is on to completely eradicate murder hornets in the U.S. before they wipe out the honey bee population, the task is as simple as finding a needle in a haystack, or as easy as fitting a camel through the eye of a needle, or one of those other sayings that mean it is going to be hard. Really hard.
Vespa Mandarinia, the super fancy name for the Asian giant hornet, is nothing to be messed with. As the saying goes, “If you see something, say something,” and this definitely holds true in the case of murder hornets. Quick reporting can lead to quick eradication, and when it comes to murder hornets, this can’t happen quick enough.