The “murder hornet” arrives in the US

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The New York Times

Bailey McLean, News Editor

The Asain giant hornet better known as the “murder hornet” is the world’s largest hornet. A female can grow up to 2 inches long with a wingspan of 3 inches. These hornets are usually found in China, Japan, and many other Asian countries, but for the first time, these hornets were recently spotted in the US.

With deadly hornets in the United States, the honey bee population and beekeepers. The hornets are notorious for destroying honey bee hives. The hornet’s life cycle begins in April, when queens emerge from hibernation, feed on plant sap and fruit, and look for underground dens to build their nests. 

The species are most destructive in the late summer and early fall. Like a rogue army, they attack honey bee hives, killing adult bees and eating larvae and pupae, according to the researchers at Washington State University.

Researchers say, “Their stings are big and painful, with a potent neurotoxin.” Multiple stings can kill humans, even if they are not allergic, the university said.

One of the concerns being voiced is from farmers, who depend on honey bees to pollinate many important northwest crops such as apples, blueberries, and cherries.

The hornet can sting through most beekeeper suits, and deliver nearly seven times the amount of venom as a honey bee. Not to mention, they can sting multiple times.

The university said it isn’t known how or where the hornets arrived in North America. They normally live in the forests and low mountains of eastern and southeast Asia. The hornets feed on large insects, including wasps and bees. It was dubbed the “murder hornet” in Japan, where it is known to kill people.

“We’re not quite sure if they’re able to fight against Asian giant hornets,” Vu said of regular honey bees. “So that’s the primary concern with it.”