We could all use a little more good news these days and then… murder hornets.
We’ve received many questions about murder hornets since they’ve appeared in the U.S. Here’s what we know:
Are murder hornets real?
Yes, murder hornets are unfortunately real.
The term "murder hornets" has since fallen out of use to describe the species Vespa mandarinia. Currently, this type of wasp referred to as the "Asian giant hornet" or the "northern giant hornet" and it is the largest known hornet in the world.
Where did murder hornets come from?
The hornets are native to the forests and mountains of eastern and southeast Asia as well as parts of the Russian far east. Many scientists believe they may have come on ships or cargo planes. Luckily, they have been largely confined to Washington State.
Are murder hornets dangerous to humans?
Thankfully, the Asian giant hornet does not pose a major threat to humans. While they have a nasty sting, the bigger threat is actually to honey bees and the ecosystems they pollinate.
Murder hornets are straight out of a bee keeper’s nightmare. According to Scientific American, their stingers can pierce through the standard protective gear beekeepers use. Unlike honey bees, they can sting multiple times in a row. Reports suggest the sting is so painful that it feels like a hot metal pin.
Murder Hornets Kill Bees
While a sting from a murder hornet is certainly unwelcome, the real threat they pose is to the bees. The hornets rely on eating honey bees for protein and can quickly destroy an entire colony while satisfying their appetite. The honey bee population is already declining, and their pollination is needed to keep our economy in Florida moving. In the United States as a whole, Honey Bees contribute more than $15 million to the economy by pollinating fruits, vegetables, and nuts. In Florida, they help a variety of our staple crops grow, including blueberries and tomatoes. An infestation of murder hornets would certainly threaten the industry.
How Asian Bees Defend Against the Murder Hornet
Honey Bees in Asia over time have developed a protection mechanism to safeguard their hives from murder hornets. According to Scientific American, if a murder hornet breaks into their hive, the entire colony will frantically buzz, increasing the temperature to an unlivable level for the hornet. While Honey Bees in America do not respond in this way, there’s at least hope that they could develop a protection mechanism.
Are there murder hornets in Florida?
According to the Orlando Sentinel, murder hornets are yet to be found in Florida. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services assured Floridians that they are keeping an eye out for the hornets during inspections. If they are found, there are procedures in place to get control of the problems quickly. For the time being though, Floridians have little to worry about when it comes to murder hornets.
Your bug guy,