SEATTLE, WA – While some people are welcoming the end of the winter season this weekend, the warming temperatures won’t merely be ushering in visions of pools and beaches this year… but possibly murder hornets are well.
The infamous giant Asian hornet – classified as “apex predators” – have been establishing nests in North America, mainly in Washington State, as well as nearby Fraser Valley of British Columbia, experts at the Washington state Department of Agriculture (DOA) say, who made a point of destroying a murder hornet nest found in Whatcom County back in 2020.
But while one nest in one state may not sound too intrusive at the moment, scientists Sven-Erik Spichiger at Washington’s DOA says that it’s imperative that the hornets do not establish a foothold in this country.
“This is not a species we want to tolerate here in the United States. The Asian giant hornet is not supposed to be here,” he said. “We may not get them all, but we will get as many as we can.”
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Experts note that the murder hornets not only pose a very serious threat to honeybees – who have no innate defense against the hornets, which can rapidly destroy their colonies – but to people as well; the insects can deliver painful stings and can actually spit venom that can cause eye damage, although despite their nickname, their actual lethality against human beings is somewhat exaggerated.
In their native Asia, murder hornets – which measure up to two inches long – are responsible for only a few dozen deaths per year; in contrast, domestic hornets, wasps and bees typically kill 62 people in the United States a year. It is currently not known how the insects have migrated to North America.