The Outdoor Journal by Kyle Carroll
One new topic that has been making the news in the outdoors of late is the newest invasive species to come to North America. The Asian giant hornet, otherwise known as Vespa mandarinia, is indeed a giant bug—some reach lengths of nearly two inches. For reference, your average honeybee is a bit over half an inch long. Given the awe inspiring nickname of “Murder Hornet” by some, the big wasp has received lots of press by the media who never miss a chance to incite fear in the general public.
The US is not being invaded by super wasps. These things are big and nasty but were actually found in the US back in December, “That colony was destroyed, and that was months ago,” said Lynn Kimmsey an entomologist specializing in wasps at UC Davis. In Asia, these hornets account for about 50 deaths a year. For comparison, 62 people die each year in US from stinging insects. We have insects here already whose stings are equally as nasty. The Yellow Jacket comes to mind.
According to an article in Outdoor Life online by Sara Kiley Watson, these insects are not out to sting humans, they hunt down and kill honeybees. Honeybees are important pollinators of crops in the US and really don't need another predator at a time when they are already declining due to the use of certain pesticides and parasites.
The “Murder Hornets” have only been spotted in a few places in Washington State at the present. Currently there is no proof that there is even an established population. “If there is a population establishing here in the Pacific Northwest,” said Todd Murray, a Washington State University entomologist. “Our hope is that we’ve detected it early enough so that it doesn’t spread anywhere.”
The honeybees and the rest of the country are rooting for the same outcome.