Invasion! Asian giant hornets have arrived
They can grow as large as 2½ inches and can slaughter a colony of thousands of honeybees in a matter of hours. And their sting?
It’s one of the most painful known to humankind. Vespa mandarinia, dubbed by The New York Times as “murder hornets,” are the nation’s latest invasive species, and correspondent Luke Burbank talks with entomologists and a beekeeper about the threats these insects pose and what’s being done to keep them from establishing themselves in the U.S.
What are the potential effects of Asian giant hornets on agriculture in North America?
Invasion! Asian Giant Hornets Have Arrived
The invasion of the Asian giant hornet – also known as the “murder hornet” – has scientists and beekeepers across North America on high alert. Although the hornets in question were recently discovered in the United States, they have been known to wreak havoc on honeybees and pose a potential threat to human health in multiple countries, including Japan, China, and South Korea.
Measuring up to two-inches in length, with a wingspan of up to three inches, Asian giant hornets are among the largest hornets on the planet, and they are fiercely aggressive. They can decimate entire beehives in a matter of hours, killing thousands of bees, leaving decapitated bodies strewn around the hive, and taking the larvae as food for their own young.
Asian giant hornets earned their infamous “murder hornet” moniker because of their potent venom and powerful sting. Their venom contains neurotoxins that can cause a severe allergic reaction in humans, potentially leading to anaphylactic shock, cardiac arrest, and even death.
So why are Asian giant hornets suddenly appearing in North America? According to experts, it’s likely due to increased global trade and travel. The hornets may have hitched a ride on cargo ships or airplanes, or they may have entered the country as stowaways in cargo or passenger luggage.
Regardless of how they arrived, it’s clear that Asian giant hornets pose a significant threat to North American agriculture and health. Beekeepers across the country are already trying to find ways to protect their hives from the hornets, including using mesh netting and other barriers.
Government agencies are also getting involved, with the Washington State Department of Agriculture recently enlisting the help of citizen scientists to track hornet sightings in the state. Trap designs are also being tested to find the most effective method of catching and exterminating hornets.
Given the potential danger posed by Asian giant hornets, it’s essential that everyone remains vigilant and knowledgeable about their behavior and habitat. Anyone who spots a hornet should report it to their local agricultural department immediately to help prevent the spread of these dangerous insects.
In conclusion, the arrival of Asian giant hornets in North America is a concerning development that demands swift action from everyone. From beekeepers to government agencies and ordinary citizens, we must all work together to stop the spread of these deadly hornets and protect our agriculture and health.