Asian "Murder Hornets" Have Arrived In The U.S.

Source Washington State Department of Agriculture

Officially called the Asian giant hornet, or Vespa mandarinia, the huge insects have been spotted in the USA for the first time in recent months, appearing in Washington state, the state's Department of Agriculture says.

Researchers nicknamed the bugs "Murder hornets" because several of their stings at once can kill a human, and stingers are strong enough to puncture a beekeeper's suit. The insect's sting can penetrate normal beekeeper clothing.

The pest, which has queens that can grow over two inches long, has devastating mandibles that can decapitate one bee every 14 seconds, according to a New York Times report.

It is unclear how the insects moved from Asia to the US, but species have been known to arrive in overseas cargo and quickly establish populations once released into the wild.

"It's a shockingly large hornet", added Todd Murray, a specialist in invasive species at the university. A sting can also be quite painful, as reported by one blog that quoted a sting victim who described the experience as "like a hot nail through my leg". In fact, the Washington State Department of Agriculture has ordered special suits from China to help tackle the creatures.

While generally not aggressive towards people or pets, the hornets can attack if provoked, officials say, and have killed humans in extreme circumstances.

The massive hornet can be devastating to honeybee populations.

The culprit to the attack is know as the Asian Murder Hornet or the Vespa mandarinia magnifica.

According to a New York Times report, the hornets were first discovered in the community of Custer, Washington, roughly 60 miles southeast of Vancouver. Some people in Asian countries eat the meaty hornets, and their juice is sometimes used as a performance-enhancing supplement.

Amid a pandemic, it seems unfair to have nature inflict another curveball on the Earth - in this case, an invasive killer hornet species called the Asian Giant Hornet, which can be deadly to humans.

The hornets generally measure between 1.5 and 2 inches long, have large yellow-orange heads with prominent eyes and a black and yellow striped abdomen.

However, a genetic analysis of a hornet found in Washington state was reportedly not a match with the insects found in British Columbia and experts believe the species was likely introduced multiple times. It's not all bad news for the bees though, as they can use a tactic referred to as "heatballing" to literally overheat and kill the monster 'nets.

Thompson said the multiple sightings on the West Coast suggest the hornets are either continually being introduced into the environment or have already established a population here. If you are stung, similar to bee or wasp stings, reduce inflammation and the spread of the venom by placing an ice cube or cold compact on the affected area.