While the Asian giant hornet’s intimidating moniker refers to its penchant for “murdering” honey bees, not humans, that in itself could cause tremendous damage to Northwest farmers’ crops, the pollination process and the ecosystem. The Washington State Department of Agriculture has managed to trap one of these wieldy wasps in an effort to try and eradicate the species before it does harm beyond repair to the North American bee population.
Here’s how they work: The Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) can swoop down and grab a helpful honey bee out of the air. The hornet then carries this treat home to nourish young hornets. A raiding party of several dozen Asian giant hornets can kill a whole hive containing thousands of bees in just a few hours. In such mass attacks, hornets bite the heads off adult bees. Attackers leave the adult bodies in heaps. They carry off young bees as protein for young hornets.
Known not only for its sweeping sting to the honey bee world, the orange-and-black Asian giant hornet is also the largest among other wasp, bee and hornet species, its queen growing up to 2 inches in length with a wingspan of up to 3 inches! If they do feel threatened, they will deliver a fairly strong dose of venom to humans and can sting more than once, wreaking holy havoc on those allergic to insect venom. In fact, in lab tests, other species of Asian hornets packed a punch in one sting that would have a fifty percent chance of killing a decent-sized rodent!
Here’s the buzzworthy back story about “murder hornets”:
- Asian giant hornets rank as the world’s largest hornet.
- They not only fancy honey bees, they also forage for beetles or other types of hornets or yellow jackets.
- Scientists in Canada confirmed their first giant hornet on May 15 in British Columbia. Another first appeared near Custer, WA on May 29 and a second queen was spotted on June 6 near Bellingham.
- True hornets are big, predatory and colony-forming wasps, mostly native to Asia, and need meat to feed their young.
Asian giant hornets have been spotted all around Washington State. It is extremely important to locate and track these predators, so the Washington State Department of Agriculture is asking people to report sightings on their website, where you can also see a map of where they have already been detected.
Do your part to bee helpful in ridding the area and the nation of these unwanted threats. Seeing flying insects around your property? Contact us today for a free bee & wasp control estimate