Deadly murder hornets spotted in Washington State

Recent reports confirm that the potentially deadly murder hornets have been spotted in Washington State. These hornets typically live in Asia.

Vespa Mandarinia, more commonly known as murder hornet, is the biggest hornet specie in the world. These hornets can grow up to 2-inches long. While typically docile towards humans, these hornets can be deadly when provoked.

In Japan, these hornets are responsible for deaths of up to 50 people annually. The hornet can kill an adult human through repeated stings which can cause anaphylactic shock.

The hornet usually target honeybees, and they are capable of wiping out an entire hive. Scientist are raising concerns about the possible eradication of honeybees if this murder hornets are not contained.

In a statement University of California professor of entomology Dr. Doug Yanega says:

“Folks in China, Korea, and Japan have lived side by side with these hornets for hundreds of years, and it has not caused the collapse of human society there.”

What are the risks

These murder hornets are an immediate risk to the current honeybee population. They are the source of foods for these hornets. Moreover, these hornets are capable of wiping out an entire hive in just a matter of hours.

Experts also warn that bees in the U.S. do not have the defense mechanism against these murder hornets. This puts them in an especially vulnerable position.

Beekeepers around the United States are raising concerns about the threat these hornet are posing to their livelihood.  A number of beekeepers confirm that they are planning to lay down traps in order to contain the spread and growth of these hornets.

The life cycle of these murder hornets usually begins in April. At this time, the queen comes out of hibernation and will begin to feed.  Once hive has been built during the summer and autumn, worker hornets will begin to look for food.

Possible implications

Experts warn that while these murder hornets’ typical targets are honeybees, they are still a big   threat to the ecosystem. In general, bees are responsible for the pollination of about 75 percent of fruits in the United States. Absence of these bees will have dire consequences to the country’s agriculture.

As of this writing, only Washington State has reported of murder hornet sightings. More importantly, there are no reports of attacks on humans.

Scientists from the Washington State University are working on ways of trapping these murder hornets. They are planning to trap just the queen. That way they will have a specific target.

Image courtesy of Wolfgang Hasselmann/Unsplash

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