By: KATE SAARI
Bees aren’t just for stinging and pollinating. This may come as a shocker to you, but some are actually killers. Recently in Washington State, a giant murder hornet’s nest was found on private property by the Washington State Dept. of Agriculture. Murder Hornets are not something to mess around with, if you don’t believe me just look at their name. About 50 deaths a year are caused by Murder Hornets and their poisonious venom. Although this seems like a small number, it could increase if we don’t act fast on eliminating these insect’s homes. These nests aren’t easy to get rid of, but should be done as soon as possible, or else you’re putting your life in danger. Even though we need to support and keep our bees alive, these distant evil relatives need to go.
Murder Hornets nickname actually wasn’t given through their actions towards humans. They prey on honey bees and will swoop down and grab them out of the air. The hornets then carry this treat home to nourish their young. Only a few dozen can abolish a whole hive of bees. Remember, honey bees die after one sting, unlike murder hornets who can sting multiple times These creatures can be up to 1.5 to 2 inches long. So, if I saw one of those anywhere near me, I would definitely be terrified. Murder Hornets come from Japan, but can also be found in other Eastern countries such as Thailand, China, Nepal and even Russia. With that being said, it isn’t common for these bugs to venture into the United States. What motivated them to take a trip to the US? Karla Salp, a spokesperson for the Washington Department of Agriculture, says that, “Though it’s unclear how the Asian giant hornet wound up on the North American continent, insects can sometimes become ‘unwitting hitchhikers’ on a shipping container or traveler.” Unlike us, these Hornets were able to travel into our country to see Americans during this tough period of time.
This isn’t the first time these buzzing “tourists” have come to visit. Not only have they popped up through the earlier months this year, they also explored during 2019 in Washington during the month of December. As of right now, the Asian giant hornet nest was originally discovered on October 24th in a tree cavity near Blaine, Washington. Interestingly, to lure the hornets into the trap, they had to use radio trackers, which they used to lead them to the nest. They ended up capturing 85 through the nest and 13 as they were leaving the hive during research, ending up with 98 locked up hornets. However, two queens managed to survive and were captured by entomologists from the WSDA (Washington State Department of Agriculture). “It’s unclear if both queens are virgin queens or if one is a virgin queen and the other is the old queen,” the WSDA told CNN. “Actually, it was a little terrifying because the first thing we saw was their children’s play set, you know, less than 20, 30 feet away from the active nest. and so that’s when we knew we had to contact them immediately,” said Entomologist, Sven-Erik Spichiger about the newly founded nest. The hive was located near an area that was crowded by kids and could have done a lot of damage if it was contaminated later. Luckily, on Wednesday October 28th, The WSDA officials were able to cut down and remove the entire tree that once held the first known Asian giant hornet nest. They can’t confirm that there aren’t any murder hornets lurking around the states, but the WSDA trying their best to keep North America safe.
Studies shown that as humans, we shouldn’t be concerned about being harmed by Murder Hornets. Despite that knowledge, we should be prepared for these insects because they can cause a lot of destruction. Whether it’s towards the people or our sacred honey bees. Scientists are still searching for the hornets throughout the United States in case some escaped their “prison” or were able to scram before we were able to catch them. Hopefully, you gained a little empathy for bees and realized they actually aren’t too dangerous compared to these toxic flying beasts. These Hornets overheard about our 2020 year and wanted to stop by to make matters a little more interesting for us. Thank you Murder Hornets, your appearance has made a great addition to the list of horrible events of the year.