Murder Hornet: Worry or Not?
Perhaps COVID-19 has become old news, or maybe we are just this bored staying at home. The new hot topic swirling around social media is this scary spawn of Satan himself. The moniker that it is currently going by is the Murder Hornet. From the way it looks, and this not so tame name, I'd say it made me a shiver a little. I also can't stand other hornets or wasps. Bees are okay, but wasps can burn for all I care.
Vespa mandarinia is its true name, but it's commonly called the Asian Giant Hornet. I would have to agree on the giant part. According to the Washington State Department of Agriculture, the winged whopper can get as long as two inches in length! To help put your mind at ease, there isn't a giant swarm headed down to us. In fact, there have only been a handful of possible sightings ranging back to the fall of 2019. Out of those possible sightings, only two of those were confirmed to be the actual hornet itself. Other so-called sightings ended up being other hornets and wasps.
There are a few ideas on how they might have made their way over here: their nests, like any other winged stinging terror. Complete with a queen, the nests are usually ground level in the dark. Shipping containers and vessels are possibly the way they made it over here. Another thought is that in Japan, they are considered a meat deliciously fit for consumption. One thought is they were smuggled over to breed in the states, and perhaps escaped from captivity.
The Murder Hornet name has been a recent development by media. The hornet tends to attack beehives, leaving behind headless bees as it destroys them. According to the Department of Agriculture, this is a very extreme name to have. Unless you are allergic, a single sting cannot kill a human. A human can also die from bee stings and wasp stings. In Japan, its home town, they kill 50 people per year. This really isn't much for Americans to worry about, since they actually populate Japan and thrive there. With only two confirmed cases in the United States, and those being in Washington, the south doesn't have much to worry about at the moment. Washington is working toward educating beekeepers there, and are developing traps to hopefully stop the spread before it gets out of hand.