More About Murder Hornets

Asian giant hornets – better known as murder hornets – could decimate American honeybee population. Last month, after various sightings across the Pacific Northwest, officials in Washington state discovered and removed the first known murder hornet nest in the United States. The officials in Blaine Washington removed the nest of aggressive hornets – which were about to enter their “slaughter phase” – before they could multiply and kill the area’s honeybees. Had they not been removed, the insects could have land waste to the pollinators vital region’s raspberries, blueberries and other crop. The hornet is not native to the United States and can be more commonly found in Asia, where it has been known to kill up to 50 people a year in Japan. In addition to the 112 worker hornets that were found, there were hundreds of larvae and pupae (the life stage after larvae), as well as some eggs and male hornets. The nest was capable of holding about 200 queens. The officials removed many of the queens from the nest just in time, still there were some that could have escaped and could form new colonies next year. The discoveries from this nest have left officials unsure of how the hornets got to the Pacific Northwest in the first place. It was likely that a mated queen made its way to Washington through international trade. It was also possible that someone smuggled the hornets into the United States to raise them as food. They are sometimes eaten as snacks or used as an ingredient in alcoholic drinks. Even if there are no other hornets found in the area in the future, officials will continue to use traps for at least three more years to ensure that the area is free of the hornets.