'Murder hornets' land in the US for the first time

'Murder hornet' invasion in US sows dread over threat to bees, humans

Giant 'Murder Hornets' Threat Looms Over the United States - Report

Even as the USA remains under attack from the coronavirus outbreak, a new terror has arrived: "murder hornets".

The newspaper adds that Asian giant hornets were also apparently seen in Canada, with one hornet being spotted in British Columbia in November, some 10 miles away from the site of the sightings in Washington State, while a whole hive of hornets was located in Vancouver Island before that.

Here is another reason why you should follow the lockdown rules and not leave your house during the quarantine if you're living in the US, in case you needed one: For the first time, Asian giant "murder hornets" has been spotted in the USA and it has created quite a buzz - and it is not a good buzz since they are as bad as they sound.

The world's largest hornet, dubbed the "Murder Hornet" in Japan and native to Asia, has been found in the state of Washington and is, apparently, poised to spread across the United States if not stopped soon, according to the New York Times.

The hornet is not known to occur in North Carolina, and agriculture department apiary staff have been actively monitoring for the pest with no detection to date. "It's a health hazard, and more importantly, a significant predator of honey bees", Todd Murray, a WSU Extension entomologist and invasive species specialist said.

"They're like something out of a monster cartoon with this huge yellow-orange face", Susan Cobey, a bee breeder at the Washington State University's department of entomology, said recently.

In this April 23, 2020, photo provided by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, dead Asian giant hornets sit on a researcher's field notebook in Blaine, Wash.

An example of a bottle trap that can be used to trap murder hornets
An example of a bottle trap that can be used to trap murder hornets

The giant hornets especially target bees between late summer and the fall.

With their sharp, spiked mandibles, the hornets decapitate honeybees, using the bodies to feed their young. A few hornets can destroy a hive in a matter of hours.

The hornets are not known to bother people or pets, but they will attack if they feel threatened.

Multiple stings from the hornet can kill a human, even if they aren't allergic. The hornets are aggressive when defending their territory. "It was like having red-hot thumbtacks being driven into my flesh", he said. The stingers can penetrate protective beekeeper suits.

The WSU scientists will begin trapping queen murder hornets this spring, aiming to detect and eradicate the species.

A honeybee pollinating a flower. Between 1947 and 2017, number of honeybee colonies in the United States plummeted from 6 million to 2.5 million. University researchers are urging people in the area to learn how to identify the insects and to report any sightings.

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