To say that 2020 has been a crazy year would be an understatement. But with so much happening, and new headlines related to major national and global events appearing every week, there was bound to be at least one big story that got lost in the shuffle. Case in point: the murder hornet.
The murder hornet, also known as the Asian giant hornet, or Vespa mandarinia, was first spotted in Washington back in May. Several more specimens of the insect were found in the Pacific Northwest over the next month, including two Queens recovered in Washington state. While the Asian giant hornet had been spotted in British Columbia back in September, 2019, and California reported one sighting all the way back in 2016, these murder hornets found in May and June seemed to represent an uptick that suggested the species could potentially be invading North America.
So, whatever happened to those murder hornets, anyway? In a word: nothing.
The murder hornet continues to be a threat to North America, though it is not quite as dire a threat as many have made it out to be. For one thing, the murder hornet does not naturally attack humans—it hunts bees. While the initial reports of destroyed beehives and colonies with the heads torn off were indeed alarming, they are also proof that these formidable insects are a far greater threat to their fellow insects than they are to us. Moreover, while Asian giant hornets kill at most a few dozen people on their home continent per year, no deaths caused by murder hornets have yet been reported in North America. In fact, scientists largely agree that the mosquito is a far greater threat to the average American than any murder hornet is.
Still, it is not hard to understand why people fear this insect. The murder hornet has a distinct appearance, with teardrop eyes and orange and black stripes that run down its body almost like a tiger. It also has wings similar to a small dragonfly, and queens can grow up to two inches in length. And to reiterate, while no one in North America has ever been killed by a murder hornet, getting stung by this insect would be incredibly painful and dangerous, to say the least.
But for now, the United States’ potential murder hornet problem appears to be mostly contained. Scientists in Washington recently destroyed a nest containing hundreds of these insects, and Congress just recently announced a proposal to establish a “murder hornet eradication plan” that would provide Washington and other states the financial assistance necessary for management, research, and education to help "eradicate the Asian giant hornet; and restore bee populations damaged by the Asian giant hornet." It is also worth noting that honeybees in Asian countries have found their own defense against the murder hornet: coating their hives with feces—a strategy that could also potentially help reduce the effect of the murder hornet on the bee population here in the U.S.
While concerns over the murder hornet may indeed have been exaggerated here in America, that’s not to say you shouldn’t still do everything you can to protect yourself from dangerous pests. Fortunately, Frame’s Pest Control proudly provides services to take care of a range of stinging insects. Our professionals can help eliminate yellow jackets, bees, wasps, hornets, and more. Backed by decades of experience and offering guaranteed work to everyone who hires us, you’ll never have to worry about receiving long-lasting results when you go with the trusted experts at Frame’s. Remember, the murder hornet sounded scary, but there are plenty of other pests you should look out for before you fret about this invasive species showing up on your property.