We received some interesting news over the weekend… headlines reading, “Murder Hornets are now in the United States” are all across social media and are being talked about on all major news stations! Did we even realize these things existed? I sure didn’t.
What is happening right now?! We are only 4 full months into 2020 (which was supposed to be “the best year ever”) and already dealing with some major stuff! First Covid19 and now Murder Hornets? UGH! What else is trying to keep us from enjoying our much-needed summer!
I started doing my research to see if theses Asian Giant Murder Hornets are anything we need to be concerned with right now. I have to admit, the name sounds very intimidating but are they really? Will these hornets become a threat to our society? Needless to say, I had a lot of questions.
Let’s find out!
My first question, how the heck did Asian Murder Hornets get all the way to the US?
Somehow, Asian Murder Hornets have arrived in the United States. Researchers have not been able to confirm how these Asian murder hornets got here but one theory concludes that they simply got trapped in shipping containers that took them to different parts of the country. That’s a logical explanation to me.
The first potential US sighting was in November 2019.
One morning, a Washington beekeeper went out to check on his honey bees and found thousands of bees dead with their heads chopped off. The only explanation he has was the Asian Murder Hornet. Six of these hornets can whip out a colony of 30,000 honey bees at one time!
The Washington Department of Agriculture can not confirm that to be true because they didn’t see what actually happened but just a few weeks later, the first sighting of this giant bee was found a few miles from that bee farm.
Question #2! What gives Asian Giant Murder Hornets Their Power?
Queen Asian Murder Hornets are considered “giant” because they can be up to 2.5 inches long. That’s almost the size of an average pinky. That’s 5x bigger than a little honey bee. Their power comes from 2 things.
- One, their mandibles which are shaped like shark fins so they can attack and completely dismember honey bees and take their thorax back to their larvae to eat. Their head and limbs are left behind.
Okay hold on… what did I just read? Asian murder hornets intentionally seek out honey bees so they can cut off their head, remove their insides, and feed it to their babies… That is so barbaric! Or perhaps it’s just the circle of life.
- Two, the stinger. This is only used for larger targets. A murder hornet can even sting through special suites beekeepers wear. When the stinger is inserted, the stinger releases almost seven times the amount of venom as a honey bee. If a person was stung a few times by this venomous stinger, it could kill them. The venom is called mandarotoxin, which is a neurotoxin that attacks the tissue and nervous system.
On average, 50 people a year in Japan die from these hornets.
Watch this video as Coyote Peterson makes one sting his arm so he can feel its power. It’s a long video. Feel free to watch the entire thing or you can fast-forward to the 10-minute mark.
Disclaimer: Please don’t try this ar home if you just so happen to find a giant murder hornet in your back yard.
Question #3 When can we see more of these Asian Murder hornets?
Starting in April, giant queen hornets come out of hibernation and prepares their den and build nests. If we do see an increase of these hornets, it won’t be until late July and going into early fall. This is when they are most destructive.
Right now is the best time to deal with Asian Murder Hornets while the population is still small. There are currently things being done by entomologists to capture and wipe out this particular species before they get out of control.
If you see one, do not try to capture it or even hunt them on your own. Contact your local entomologist if you think you may have seen one.
Question #4 Are Asian Murder Hornets a threat to our population?
Even though these hornets have historically killed people, scientists do not think they are a threat to humans or our environment here in the United States.
WSDA says these hornets do not typically go after humans.
As of today, there have not been any sightings of murder hornets on the east coast so you feel at ease while enjoying your summer outdoors. We are seeing a few sightings in the Washington State area.
This is where most research and traps are currently being set up in hopes of slowing the spread of these hornets.
The only threat they currently cause to the United States is the potential devastation they could have on our honey bee population.
This leads to the next question…
Question #5 Why are honey bees so important to our population?
Honey bees are said to be “heroes of our planet”.
Honey bee pollination plays a huge role in producing the fruit and vegetables that we grow and eat.
Thinking past just fruits and veggies, cattle also depends on bee pollination to provide plants that are essential to their diets such as alfalfa and clover. This could mean a shortage of meat and dairy products if honeybees are endangered.
If we did see the disappearance of honey bees, it could impact our health in many ways. We would have fewer crops which will lead to lower availability of food and nutrients. We would become at risk for certain vitamin deficiencies which can cause health concerns.
Another thing people don’t realize is bee pollination is responsible for cotton. If we didn’t have honey bees, we would be unable to grow cotton. We wouldn’t be able to make clothing and important everyday items such as beeswax and cleaning products.
So to put this simply, honeybees do a lot! We need to take care of them and protect them so we can continue to reap the benefits they provide.
I heard it said the best today, we should “BEE-AFRAID” of these hornets but we shouldn’t worry too much. You should contact someone if you think one is in your area or if you walk past a pile of decapitated and dismembered bees.
Remember, they are not out to get you. They want honey bees. So as long as you stay clear from hanging out by a colony of bees (unless you are wearing a special beekeepers suit) you should be good.
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It was interesting read your article thanks for sharing 🙂
Ugh murder hornets now?? This year needs to cut us some slack. LOL. It’s definitely making us more resilient, that’s for sure!
Wow 2020 is the year that just keeps on giving hey?!?
Really interesting article, thank you for sharing x
My goodness.. it seems like everything is going wrong lately. This is a very informative article on a topic I had no prior knowledge of. 2020 needs to go away!
When I first heard about this, I was not sure how to react. 2020 has been something else.
Thanks for researching and sharing this post. I honestly didn’t know anything about Asian hornets until now. ty.
Crazy stuff happening in 2020! Thanks for the info.
Haha, thanks for sharing the info with us!
My husband was just telling me about this the other day! The name is certainly scary enough as it is!
I keep hearing about these, but thank you for the simple explanation! Much less to worry about when you explain that they aren’t just attacking humans