What are Murder Hornets and Why is Everyone on Social Media Freaking Out About Them?
Image credits: Reuters.
Murder Hornets or the Asian Giant Hornets are the largest existing species of hornets in the world. They have come to limelight after they destroyed a US-based man's beehive.
A report published in The New York Times emphasized how a beekeeper's hives were destroyed by this breed of hornets. The beekeeper was not aware of what went wrong till he came to know about these. The Vespa mandarinia can actually destroy an entire beehive in a matter of few hours. They are said to do this so that they can take bee thoraxes to feed the younger Asian Giant Hornets.
According to the official website of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, “the hornets enter a ‘slaughter phase’ where they kill bees by decapitating them. They then defend the hive as their own, taking the brood to feed their own young”.
Here are a few things that you should know about them:
They are seven times more poisonous than a honey bee. They usually attack in groups. Each year in Japan around 50 people get killed by the murder hornets.
This is the first time they were found in Blaine, the US, in December.
The Murder Hornet is not active throughout the year and only start coming out in April and are in action through Summer and Autumn. Its sting can grow as large as 2-1/2 inches (6.35 cm) in length.
The lethal insects are not usually found in open plains and high altitude as they are said to prefer the low-altitude forests and mountains.
Sven-Erik Spichiger, managing entomologist at the Washington state Agriculture Department, told Reuters, “an Asian giant hornet can sting you multiple times and deliver larger doses of venom just because of the size of them. The venom itself is fairly toxic and creates localized necrosis around the wound so you’ll see melting flesh around the wound”.
The murder hornet can fly at a good speed and can reach up to 20 miles per hour. They are known to fly several miles in a day.