To Make Things Worse, The US Now Has ‘Murder Hornets'
If they didn’t already have enough to worry about the USA now has aggressive killer insects whose sting has been likened to the feeling of hot metal piercing through the skin.
The killer bug, nick-named the "murder hornet", has been discovered in the USA for the first time. The hornet is responsible for killing as many as 50 people a year in Japan.
Although the hornets are yet to kill a human in The States they are having a devastating effect on precious bee populations.
Beekeeper Ted McFall in Washington State told The New York Times that he found his beehive slaughtered by the terrifying invader. Thousands and thousands of his colony had “their heads torn from their body”.
“I couldn’t wrap my head around what could have done that,” he told the NYT.
“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,” the NYT related.
For larger targets, the hornet’s potent venom and stinger make for an excruciating combination that victims have likened to hot metal driving into their skin.
Mr McFall was surprised to see his bees killed. It was later that he thought a murder hornet might have caused the carnage.
The murder hornets look just as scary as they sound. They have two tear-drop shaped black eyes, black and orange striped abdomen, wide wings like a dragonfly and can be more than 5cm long.
Two were found in the same state where Mr McFall operates and now scientists have set out to track down the hornets, worrying they will colonise and demolish bee populations.
Scientists aren’t sure how these giant hornets native to Asia ended up in the USA, but it has been theorised.
“They're sometimes transported in international cargo, in some cases deliberately”, said Seth Truscott with WSU's college of agricultural, human and natural resource sciences.
"They attack honey bee hives, killing adult bees and devouring bee larvae and pupae, while aggressively defending the occupied colony," he added. "Their stings are big and painful, with a potent neurotoxin. Multiple stings can kill humans, even if they are not allergic."
Although on the hunt, Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologist Chris Looney is worried it may be too late. “This is our window to keep it from establishing,” he told NYT.
If we can’t do it in the next couple of years, it probably can’t be done.
Looney is speaking in regards to local bee populations of course...but look at those monsters, human populations have every right to also be concerned.