Murder hornets invade headlines, not the US

Close up image of Asian giant hornet.

(University of California, Riverside) Though “murder hornets” are dominating recent headlines, there are no Asian giant hornets currently known to be living in the U.S. or Canada, according to UC Riverside Entomology Research Museum Senior Scientist Doug Yanega. “There have not been any sightings in 2020 that would suggest the eradication attempt was unsuccessful.”

In Japan, the ‘murder hornet’ is both a lethal threat and a tasty treat

Image of collection of murder hornets.

(New York Times) Long before the Asian giant hornet began terrorizing the honeybees of Washington State, the ferocious insects posed a sometimes lethal threat to hikers and farmers in the mountains of rural Japan. But in the central Chubu region, these insects — sometimes called “murder hornets” — are known for more than their aggression and excruciating sting. They are seen as a pleasant snack and an invigorating ingredient in drinks.

Murder hornets vs. honey bees: A swarm of bees can cook invaders alive

Image of two dead Asian giant hornets on notepad.

(New York Times) When a hornet enters the hive of Japanese honey bees, hundreds of bees can respond by forming a ball around the hornet. The bees work together and vibrate to produce heat, raising the temperature in the formation to over 115 degrees, cooking the hornet to a temperature it cannot survive. “The honeybee in Japan has adapted with this predator and learned through generations to protect themselves. Our honeybees, the predator has never been there before, so they have no defense.”

‘Murder hornets’ in the US: The rush to stop the Asian giant hornet

Image of Asian giant hornet on man's coat.

(New York Times) Sightings of the Asian giant hornet have prompted fears that the vicious insect could establish itself in the United States and devastate bee populations. 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.

Meet the Bee Panther, a massive insect that bees and wasps fear

Image of Bee Panther feeding on wasp.

(WBIR) Also known as a Red-footed Cannibalfly, it’s a type of robber fly and is a notoriously aggressive insect hunter. They like to hide out and wait for a bee or wasp to fly by before launching at it and stabbing it with its proboscis. They then inject the prey with a saliva cocktail that immobilizes it and liquefies its innards so it can suck out a nice meal.