Energy & Environment

Asian ‘murder hornets’ found in US

A species of Asian “murder hornets” has appeared in the U.S. as researchers search for ways to eradicate the vicious insects before populations grow.

The hornets were discovered near Custer, Wash., last November when beekeeper Ted McFall found carcasses of his bees with decapitated heads, according to an interview with The New York Times.

McFall told the Times that he could not imagine what could have killed his bees, later discovering that it was the result of a murder hornet attack.

The Asian hornets are reportedly enormous, with queens growing as long as two inches.

According to the Times, the hornets utilize their mandibles, which are shaped like spiked shark fins, to decapitate worker bees, clearing hives within hours and feeding honeybee thoraxes to their offspring.

The hornet’s venom causes unbearable pain for larger victims who are stung, which reportedly feels like hot metal being driven through one’s skin. They also can break through beekeeper suits, presenting a real threat to not only honeybees but also their keepers.

Japan reports around 50 people a year die from deadly hornet attacks, the Times added.

While McFall did not directly witness the attack, researchers have discovered the undesirable insects in northwest Washington, although little information, including population numbers, is known.

Scientists are reportedly seeking to track the invasive species to prevent further bee colonies from being eradicated while attempting to reduce the murder hornet population.

Chris Looney, an entomologist at the Washington State Department of Agriculture, told the Times that the hornets must be controlled within a short time frame.

“This is our window to keep it from establishing,” he said, according to the Times, adding, “If we can’t do it in the next couple of years, it probably can’t be done.”

Tags Asian giant hornet Asian hornet Beekeeping Honey bee Hornet insects Worker bee
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