'Murder hornets' arrive in the U.S., beekeepers fear mass honeybee deaths

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A species of giant hornets native to Asia, nicknamed “murder hornets,” with mandibles that look like spiky shark fins they use to bite the heads off honeybees. People who’ve been stung by these hornets say their venom and stingers feel like hot metal driving into skin.

They make an appearance in the viral video above, by YouTube persona Coyote Peterson.

“Murder hornets” have arrived in the United States. And scientists fear they may further destroy fragile honeybee populations, reports Mike Baker in the New York Times. The story opens with a beekeeper realizing his hive has been decimated by the ‘murder hornets’:

With queens that can grow to two inches long, Asian giant hornets can use mandibles shaped like spiked shark fins to wipe out a honeybee hive in a matter of hours, decapitating the bees and flying away with the thoraxes to feed their young. For larger targets, the hornet’s potent venom and stinger — long enough to puncture a beekeeping suit — make for an excruciating combination that victims have likened to hot metal driving into their skin.

In Japan, the hornets kill up to 50 people a year. Now, for the first time, they have arrived in the United States.

Mr. McFall still is not certain that Asian giant hornets were responsible for the plunder of his hive. But two of the predatory insects were discovered last fall in the northwest corner of Washington State, a few miles north of his property — the first sightings in the United States.

Scientists have since embarked on a full-scale hunt for the hornets, worried that the invaders could decimate bee populations in the United States and establish such a deep presence that all hope for eradication could be lost.

Read more:

Tracking the ‘Murder Hornet’: A Deadly Pest Has Reached North America
[Mike Baker, NYT]



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