Let’s dispel some myths about murder hornets and talk about what you should do if you happen to see one.
Myths about Murder Hornets
Myth #1: Their Name
They aren’t actually called “murder hornets.” Their scientific name is Vespa Mandarinia, and they are more commonly called Asian giant hornets.
Myth #2: They’re Murderers
“Murder hornets” don’t murder people. They generally don’t even attack them, although they can be extremely aggessive if disturbed during summer and fall when they are nesting. These Asian giant hornets can, however, pose a threat to honeybees and can quickly decimate a hive.
Myth #3: They’ve Invaded
They aren’t invading the United States or even Washington state. The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) received and verified reports of just two Asian giant hornets near Blaine in December 2019. However, WSDA is concerned about the potential threat to our environment, economy, and public health if those two Asian giant hornets seen last year weren’t alone here.
Myth #4: Their Sting is Deadly
It’s unlikely that you’ll die if you get stung. The Asian giant hornet is venomous, and its sting is extremely painful. It can even sting multiple times. But the sting is rarely deadly to humans or pets. That being said, WSDA advises using “extreme caution” near Asian giant hornets, especially if you’re allergic to bee or wasp stings.
The Asian giant hornet is big. The largest hornet in the world, in fact. It’s generally 1.5-2 inches long … about the length of your thumb.
Besides their size, they also are distinctive by their appearance. Here’s how to identify them:
- orange head
- large eyes
- black thorax
- orange or yellow and black striped abdomen
- large wings, which are similar to a dragonfly’s wings
An Asian giant hornet colony typically nests in the ground, although they can sometimes be found in dead trees.
If You Think You’ve Seen One
WSDA is concerned about the potential threat to honeybees, and they’re asking Washington state residents to report suspected Asian giant hornet sightings.
If you think you see an Asian giant hornet or evidence of a beehive attack, here’s how to report it:
- Report using the Hornet Watch Report Form
- Email PestProgram@agr.wa.gov
- Call 1-800-443-6684
They ask that you include a picture so that they can verify identification of the hornet.
Of course, Classic Insulation & Pest Control is here to help as well … with “regular” hornets, bees, and wasps, in addition to the Asian giant hornet. Plus, we provide attic and crawlspace cleanup, pest control, and insulation services.