'Murder hornets' land in the US for the first time

James Marshall
May 5, 2020

Following the discovery of the first hornet, a Web page set up by Washington state agriculture officials to report additional sightings of the insect has received several hundred reports, Mr Spicheger said.

"Three large insects found in the Nanaimo area were confirmed by Canadian and global experts as Asian giant hornets", the report explains, marking the first time they have been discovered on Vancouver Island and in British Columbia.

While the exact location of the kill is not known, the hornets have recently been found in the USA state of Washington, DC, where entomologists have been making plans to wipe them out.

While the hornets' mandibles allow them to decimate a beehive in a matter of hours, their powerful venom and long stingers make these insects a credible, and possibly lethal, threat to humans as well.

Two Asian giant hornets were discovered near Blaine, Wash., in December, and one was found in White Rock, B.C., in November. Male cicada killers live only a couple weeks, time they spend patrolling their territories, battling with other males and mating.

"They're like something out of a monster cartoon with this huge yellow-orange face", Susan Cobey, a bee breeder at the Washington State University's department of entomology, said recently. He let a murder hornet sting him, and said the pain was "momentous". Even through a pair of shorts, thick sweatpants, and a bee suit, the man endured seven stings-some of which drew blood. "It is important for people [to report]. if they 'see something, say something.' We have developed multiple ways for people to report potential sightings; WSDA is also deploying an extensive trapping program to help identify any potential nesting sites". "It was like having red-hot thumbtacks being driven into my flesh", he said.

Washington State University (WSU) are unsure how or when the hornet first arrived in North America, but beekeepers in the region have reported gruesome hive deaths in recent months.

Of course, there is one nightmare scenario Coyote sees with these hornets. and it's bad news for beekeepers and honey bees. While scientists don't know how these hornets native to Asia ended up in Washington, it could be that they were transported in global cargo. If you think you've come across an Asian giant hornet in or near Washington state, do not go near it.

While generally not aggressive towards people or pets, the hornets can attack if provoked, officials say, and have killed humans in extreme circumstances.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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