The Asian giant hornet is native to East and South Asia. It’s the world’s largest hornet and prospers in both temperate and tropical climates. Why is it so important? And why are they called “Murder Hornets”? The colloquially known “yak-killer hornet” seems to have reached North America.
The queen of this species can grow up to 2 inches long (5.08 cm). They have very powerful mandibles that can decapitate a bee. Usually, they kill bees, decapitate them, and fly away with their thoraxes to feed their young.
Therefore, they can destroy a honeybee hive in a few hours. Also, if the target is too large, they use their potent venom and stinger. By the way, the stinger is long enough it can drill a hole in a beekeeping suit. According to the New York Times, the hornets kill an estimated 50 people in Japan each year.
The insect has cartoonish eyes, much like the comic book hero Spider-Man, and patterns on the body that looks like a tiger’s.
A few hornets have been found in the northwestern corner of Washington State last fall. Since then, The Times reports that scientists are on the hunt for Murder Hornets. In November last year, they were spotted on Vancouver Island and White Rock, British Columbia.
Among their interventions, scientists try to put trackers on the insects so they can lead them to their nests. They are big enough to handle the tracker’s weight during flight.
According to Fox News, The Bellingham Herald reported on Saturday that the State Department confirmed by verifying 4 reports of sightings in December 2019 near Blaine and Bellingham.
“This is our window to keep it from establishing,” Washington state entomologist Chris Looney told The Times. “If we can’t do it in the next couple of years, it probably can’t be done.”
Times when they are most dangerous
According to CNN, the hornets usually attack bees from late summer to fall. “The most likely time to catch Asian giant hornets is from July through October — when colonies are established and workers are out foraging,” the Washington State Department of Agriculture said in a statement. “Traps can be hung as early as April if attempting to trap queens, but since there are significantly fewer queens than workers, catching a queen isn’t very likely.”
Why we shouldn’t allow the hornets to kill bees
According to the website Sustain, there are more honeybees on the globe than other bees and pollinating insects. To lose them is to lose the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. They pollinate around one-third of the food that we consume daily. Needless to say, honey bees are extremely important to our economies.
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Source of featured image: Killgerm