By Angela Cezile Nabong
Asian Giant Hornets, or as the internet likes to call them, Murder Hornets, have been making headlines after its first discovery in the United States. The hornets were first spotted last December (2019) when the state Department of Agriculture confirmed two reports near Blaine, Washington. One was already dead and the other flew into a nearby forest. The Washington department analyzed the dead hornet and found that it was not a genetic match to the nest in Nanaimo, suggesting another nest existed within a 50-mile radius. The second hornet’s nest was not found either, which led local authorities to ask residents to keep themselves alerted for any more hornets.
No need for panic
“I think what made it worse was just the way that The New York Times article was written and the sensationalist ‘murder hornets’ headline,” Doug Yanega, a senior scientist at the Entomology Research Museum at the University of California at Riverside, said. “People assume that it’s bees that are the most dangerous, and they’re just stinging insects. There’s not really an awful lot that’s out there for them to feed on except for honeybees,” he cautioned Washington beekeepers to keep watch on their bee yards for any hornet attacks. As for how the hornets arrived here, Yanega stated “There may have been, say, a cargo container that arrived in the port there in Vancouver at some point last year, and it had multiple individuals of this wasp on board, and they left the cargo container and dispersed.”
Coming from another source on youtube, famous American wildlife educator, Coyote Peterson posted a video on May 5, 2020 titled ‘Murder Hornet Madness! – 10 things you need to know!’ In the video he answers questions while also stating facts and reasons why the United States is not going to be infested with Asain Giant Hornets. He goes into detail and explains why it is impossible for a Hornet to get to the United states. “It didn’t just get here on its own, a hornet like that cannot fly all the way across the ocean and end up in the United states. The animal would have exhausted itself, died and fallen into the ocean far before it made landfall.” He also suggests, just like Yanega, that “The way it likely got here was on a cargo ship. This is one way that a lot of invasive species end up on our soil. They get towed away on a boat, and once the boat docks, it realizes it’s on land, it escapes the boat, and low and behold, it’s out there in the environment for us humans in the United States to encounter.”
What to do if you were to encounter any hornet
Hornets will not sting you nor attack you unless it’s being provoked by either trying to catch it or spray it with an insecticide. If you were to encounter any hornets or an Asian Giant Hornet, try to and from a good distance, take a photograph. This will be used to help verify the species by having the photo be sent to your local Fish and Wildlife Department. With the information that’s been given to them they can help you properly identify what kind of species it is and then get in touch with entomologists who can come out to your area and verify whether there is a hive or colony near your area.
The Asain Giant Hornet is a very potent insect, the venom has neurotoxic properties yet it also has the ability to break down human flesh which can cause necrosis, the death of all or most cells in an organ or tissue. One sting alone is more than what one person could ever handle. In the Coyote Peterson video, he also mentions a past video he has done back in 2018 where he gets himself stung by one of the Asain Giant Hornet species, the Japanese Giant Hornet. The sting as he describes it is “the second most painful insect sting in the world. The pain is excruciating, it feels like someone has shoved a red hot poker into your arm and does not remove it for close to six hours” he then goes onto about the effects after the sting “After i was stung, my arm had swollen up to nearly twice its original size and i was in intense pain for almost 36 hours.”
It’s best to turn your attention towards the experts rather than having the news or media platforms tell you otherwise. All in all, it is not possible for these so called “Murder hornets” to arrive here in the state by wings alone, the only possibile explaintion for these hornets to arrive is through a cargo ship. Therefore it’s not even possible for these Hornets to take over the U.S. Though if you were to encounter any Giant Asain Hornets or Hornets in general, it’s best to keep a very good distance because one sting from them can cause quite the injury.