Murder hornets were recently seen on the news after its first known nest in US soil, specifically located in Washington, was successfully exterminated by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Pest Program. Now people are left wondering, has the threat really vanished? Should I be afraid of murder hornets?
While murder hornets aren’t exactly harmless, you shouldn’t fear them too much. Most of these insects only attack when provoked, so try to stay away from their nests as much as you can. A little knowledge never hurt anybody, so here are a few things you might want to know to increase your awareness about these visiting insects.
What Exactly are Murder Hornets?
The ‘murder hornet’ is in fact an Asian giant hornet that is not native to the United States.
Also known as Vespa mandarinia, this insect can reach up to two inches in length – justifying its giant tag.
Imagine it this way: the average honeybee that you see from time to time? That’s around a half-inch long. These bugs can grow to four times that bee’s size. The scary part is, some of that length actually belongs to the hornet’s stinger. Its stinger alone can grow to as long as a quarter of an inch. Can you imagine being stung by a needle that big?
According to the New York Times, that appendage is strong enough to poke through a beekeeper’s protective gear, feeling a lot like hot metal piercing through your skin. So yes, maybe in hindsight, you should be a little afraid of these bugs. Not to mention they carry a venom potent enough to kill a human being after a few stings. “It only takes a few angry hornets to inject a large amount of venom,” explains Todd Murray, an entomologist from Washington State University.
Due to their venomous stings, the Asian giant hornets gained its killer nickname in their native homeland of Japan. According to The Times, about 50 people die every year due to murder hornets.
Why are These Murder Hornets in the United States?
The Asian giant hornets were first discovered in Washington in December 2019. Authorities thought they destroyed the colony already at the time, but as seen on the news, the hornets managed to hide a few nests around the area.
Since these hornets are originally from Asia, chances are they hitchhiked their way into Pacific waters to get to the United States. It’s also possible that some of them were brought over on purpose to be cultivated, as some cultures believe in eating them as a nutritional supplement.
What Do I Need To Do to Stay Safe from These Dangerous Pests?
While murder hornets can be terrifying due to their size alone, they aren’t any more harmful than the regular wasps and hornets locally found in the US. For reference, those insects cause around 62 deaths each year, which is a little more than murder hornets cause in their hometown. Besides, murder hornets aren’t really interested in humans. They are honeybee predators and will prefer to chase a single honeybee over any number of humans anytime. If anything, murder hornets pose more of a threat to the honeybee industry that’s already losing numbers due to pesticide issues.
A Final Word About Murder Hornets
The best bet for safety is to always pay attention to your surroundings. If you see a relatively large hornet nest in your backyard or anywhere near you, don’t even try to take care of it yourself. You can call Rocklin Pest Control for professional assistance instead. Rocklin Pest Control has trained professionals that can make sure the nests are properly exterminated and that no harm comes to anyone in the process.