You might have noticed the recent “buzz” about a certain, particularly worrying insect that goes by the charming nickname “murder hornet.” These unsavory creatures were first spotted in the United States in December 2019, and unfortunately, the nickname is not just a hyperbolic, wacky pro wrestler moniker.
The hornet we’re talking about is Vespa mandarinia. This monstrosity can grow up to two inches long, and bee breeder Susan Cobey of Washington State University’s Department of Entomology describes them as, quote, “like something out of a monster cartoon, with this huge yellow-orange face.”
There have been four verified sightings of the Asian giant hornet in Washington state, and a further two in Canada’s British Columbia. Luckily, Rian Wojahn of Washington State’s Department of Agriculture has told Time that officials are addressing the situation with “an aggressive outreach and trapping campaign.” So, hopefully, our near future doesn’t include too many murder hornet swarms. Still, it’s probably a good idea to bone up on these things, just in case. Here’s everything you need to know about the frighteningly-named murder hornets.
If you see an Asian giant hornet, we have good news and bad news. The good news is that they don’t seem to actively target humans. However, the bad news is that if they do decide to sting you, you’re in for a world of pain. Even beekeeper suits can’t stop their stings, which are Bad with a capital B.
Conrad Bérubé, a beekeeper who was stung around seven times while getting rid of a nest, described the sensation to The New York Times as the most painful sting he’s ever experienced, and he’s been stung a lot. The sting is said to feel a bit like hot metal being injected into your body.
Oh, and of course the murder hornet’s sting is potentially lethal, though that can be said of any sort of hornet venom in sufficient volume. This particular venom includes a heaping helping of neurotoxins, and while one sting won’t end your life, enough of them might. Furthermore, these being hornets, they’re able to sting multiple times without dying. This is not a theoretical scenario, either. Reportedly, murder hornets kill as many as 50 people in Japan every year. Keep watching the video to see everything you need to know about ‘murder hornets’!