Chances are you’ve heard all about “murder hornets” in the past few months. But what are they? The Asian giant hornet, Vespa mandarinia, is the world’s largest hornet at over two inches long. They have received a lot of media in the past couple of months after the first-ever reports of sightings occurred in Washington in December 2019. It is true that their sting is known to be lethal, but the biggest danger of these murder hornets is the fact that they devastate the honeybee population. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about these hornets!
What do Murder Hornets Look Like?
It is rather easy to tell Asian giant hornets apart from other types of stinging insects. Here are their main characteristics:
- Light orange head with an orange, black, and brown striped body.
- Large, prominent eyes
- Distinctly sharp mandibles
- Workers are 1 ½ – 2” in length, Queens can exceed 2”
- Six legs and a set of antennae
- ¼” (6 mm) length stinger
Why are Asian Giant Hornets Dangerous?
Asian giant hornets typically do not attack humans unless they are provoked or feel their nest is threatened. A sting from a murder hornet is painful and contains neurotoxins. When multiple stings occur or when the victim is allergic, the neurotoxins can contribute to organ failure that can be fatal.
The main threat of these hornets is that they are a predator of the honeybee. They attack honey bee hives, killing adult bees and devouring bee larvae and pupae. A single murder hornet can kill dozens of honeybees in minutes, and a group of 30 hornets can devour nearly 30,0000 bees in hours. Needless to say, this can severely affect the honeybee population.
Where are Murder Hornets Found?
The Asian giant hornet is typically found in China, Japan, and several other Asian countries. The first reports of them in the United States occurred in December 2019 in Washington State. It is currently unknown how these hornets first arrived in North America. Needless to say, scientists are currently leading the way to find, trap, and eradicate this pest before it becomes more widespread.
Should You Worry About These Hornets?
These hornets definitely pose a threat to the honeybee population, and in severe cases have caused deaths in people. Currently, there are no reports of murder hornets in Nevada, and officials say it’s unlikely as the hornets prefer the wet climate. With any type of stinging insect, it’s important to be very careful and always contact a licensed pest control professional such as Western Exterminator of Las Vegas.