• Nechemyah Levi

Asian Killer Hornets Arrive in the US

STUNG by a GIANT HORNET!, Brave Wilderness, Youtube

Massive, deadly hornets affectionately known as "murder hornets," "hornets from hell" and "yak-killer hornets," have been spotted in the U.S. for the first time.

These Asian giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia) are the size of your thumb; they're orange-headed and orange-striped; and they're extremely pointy at the back end. The hornets, which were detected in Washington state, prey on bees and are known for ripping the heads off honeybees by the thousands, The New York Times reported on May 2. Enormous curved stingers and powerful venom make the hornets uniquely dangerous to humans, and their stings are responsible for as many as 50 deaths in Japan each year, mostly due to allergic reactions to the venom, according to the Times.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) verified two sightings of Asian giant hornets in early December 2019, Washington State University (WSU) Insider reported on April 6. WSDA received two more accounts describing the invasive insects, but those remain unconfirmed. No one knows how the hornets arrived in the U.S., but some speculate they may have been introduced deliberately, hidden in international cargo, WSU representatives said in a statement.

Only the females of the species have stingers, which can measure up to 0.2 inches (6 millimeters) long; the stingers can be used repeatedly; and they deliver a toxin that is "considerably venomous," ADW says. The pain from their sting is considerable -

"like a hot nail through my leg"

Masato Ono, an entomologist at Tamagawa University near Tokyo, told National Geographic in 2002

These so-called killer hornets made headlines worldwide in 2013, when a series of attacks in China injured hundreds of people and killed 28, mostly in Shaanxi province.

The number of "murder hornets" in the US has yet to be confirmed.

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