Posted: July 1, 2020
These two-inch killer bugs have earned themselves a terrifying name: murder hornets.
The giant insects come from the forests and mountains of Japan. Now some have landed on the U.S. West Coast. How did they get there? No one knows for sure. Only a few have been spotted. But entomologists are working to get rid of them while they still have a chance.
Murder hornets pack a powerful sting. And each can sting more than once. It is possible (but really rare) that a person stung repeatedly by a murder hornet can die from the stings, even if the person isn’t allergic to bees. Murder hornets can sting through most beekeeper suits.
The insects could mean big trouble for another reason too. They eat honeybees. People in the American Northwest rely on honeybees to pollinate food crops like apples, blueberries, and cherries.
The hornet was first sighted in the United States last December. People found it in Washington State. In spring, the hornets wake up from winter hibernation. Queens feed on plant sap and fruit. Next comes house hunting. When the queen finds the right spot, she’ll build an underground den for her nest. The hornets do the most damage in late summer and fall. They attack honeybee hives, killing adult bees and gobbling up baby bees and eggs. See a pile of headless bees outside a hive? That means, Murder hornets were here!
Workers from the state Department of Agriculture will begin looking for queens to trap this spring. But hunting hornets is no job for ordinary people. If you see one, GET AWAY!
How will you know it’s a murder hornet? Susan Cobey is a bee breeder at Washington State University. She says, “They’re like something out of a monster cartoon with this huge yellow-orange face.”
See a hornet and want to scram? That’s wise!
One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless. — Proverbs 14:16