"Monstrous Murder Hornets?" As If Coronavirus Wasn't Enough

Giant Asian Hornets, with body lengths up to 2 inches has a cartoonish mask face featuring ironic teardrop eyes like Spider-Man. His back-side has orange and black tiger-like stripes, with sizable dragon-fly wings that expand more than 3 inches.

Also Known As . . .

These are deadly hornets, aka "monstrous murder hornets," "hornets from hell," and "yak-killer hornets." Spotted in the U.S. for the first time, they made headlines worldwide in 2013, when a series of attacks in China injured hundreds of people and killed 28, mostly in Shaanxi province, according to a Live Science report. In 2013, when populations of the hornets were unusually high, they killed an additional 42 people.

Voracious Predator

The Asian giant hornet is a voracious predator that feasts on bees. It is capable of wiping out entire hives containing thousands of honeybees by biting off the bees' heads and then stealing their honey and bee larvae. The hornets are capable of flying up to 62 miles (100 kilometers) in a single day at speeds of 25 mph (40 km/h).

Making a Bee-line for the States

They are now making a bee-line for the States (pun intended), after terrorizing China. Sound familiar?

They've been spotted in Washington State in late 2019. Entomologists are concerned that these hornets could spread throughout the northwest and beyond, presenting a danger to U.S. bees — which are already in decline — and humans. As of this posting, no one knows how the insects reached the States.

"Monstrous Murder Hornets?" As If Coronavirus Wasn't Enough

Danger to Humans

The giant Asian insect has a sting, which could be fatal to some humans. The hornet can sting through most beekeeper suits, transferring nearly seven times the amount of venom as a honey bee. The Chinese are in the process of manufacturing specially reinforced suits.

The hornet's life cycle begins in April, when a queen emerges from hibernation, feeds on plant sap and fruit, and looks for underground dens to build their nests. Hornets are most ferocious in late summer and early fall. Like a marauding army, they attack honey bee hives, killing adult bees and devouring larvae and pupae.

Their stings are extremely painful, with a potent neurotoxin. Multiple stings can kill humans, even if they are not allergic.

Stopping the Spread

In the short-term, U.S. researchers will create hundreds of traps to look for queens, workers, and newly established colonies. They could then try to attach radio-transmitting collars so they can track the wasps as they return to their nests.

Since the nests underground generate heat, scientists are also experimenting with heat-sensitive imaging technologies to help tract and destroy the hives.

To Bee Or Not To Bee

So, it's doubtful these menacing creatures will manifest a major infestation this coming season in the U.S. But, it is something to keep a watchful eye on since humans in Asia have been killed. And since our president and his White House staff normally take a blind eye to epidemics, it's incumbent on the scientific communities to provide us with the most factual info as it happens. Better to be proactive this time, versus learning and acting after the fact. Thoughts? Feedback?

 

"Monstrous Murder Hornets?" As If Coronavirus Wasn't Enough

 

Primary Source:  Live Science

 

 

 

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