By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the giant hornets in Washington State decapitating bees and wiping out their colonies. But have you heard that these giant hornets also kill approximately 50 people in Japan every year? It sounds like something made up or something out of a horror movie, but it's all true. Murder hornets are real. Here are a few things you should know about them.
What are murder hornets?
These giant hornets are more commonly known as Asian giant hornets and are referred to scientifically as Vespa mandarinia. The workers are typically between 1.4 to 1.6 inches long, and queens can be more than 2 inches long. The wingspan of a murder hornet is around 3 inches. So, you're going to notice these stinging pests if they ever invade your Tennessee yard. If you need more to go on, Asian giant hornets have a light orange head and a body with brown and black stripes.
Are murder hornets local to the United States?
These insects appeared in Washington State in 2019 and were seen on four occasions. In each of the sightings, there was only an individual hornet. There are no documented cases of Asian giant hornet nests in the states. One nest was reported in Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It was destroyed.
We do not currently know whether or not these hornets have established a local and sustainable population in the continental United States, but there is one thing we know for sure: They're not here in Tennessee yet. If you live in our Middle Tennessee service area, you can certainly find some comfort in knowing that!
We have more comforting news for you. Entomologists from Washington State University have set up traps to immediately catch and eradicate these wasps before they can establish a local population in the spring. Hopefully, they will be successful and we won't hear about these wasps again for a while.
How dangerous are murder hornets?
An Asian giant hornet has a ¼ inch stinger and an ability to sting multiple times without losing its stinger. It can be quite painful to have an encounter with these hornets. But, the greater threat these stinging insects present is the same as any other bee, wasp or hornet. If you have an allergy to its venom, you can become very sick, and it has the potential to be life-threatening. Keep in mind that more people die annually from honey bee stings in the United States than from Asian giant hornets worldwide.
Facts About Murder Hornets
Asian giant hornets prefer to create nests in the ground. This makes nests difficult to detect, and it can present a particular issue for property owners when they mow their lawns. The vibration of a mower can cause these hornets to attack in defense of their nest.
Asian giant hornets can excavate burrows in which to establish nests or use existing holes. They commonly infest the burrows of rats, mice and other animals, or holes in the roots at the base of trees.
Asian giant hornets may be mistaken for bald-faced hornets or European hornets, both of which are large stinging insects with populations in the United States.
What To Do About Hornets
While you're not likely to see Asian giant hornets in your Middle Tennessee yard any time soon, you might see other hornets or stinging insects. If you do, remember that the service team at All-American Pest Control is available to help you with all of your pest control needs. Our service team members have the equipment and training to deal with wasps’ nests, even nests that are created by giant wasps that look like they belong in a horror movie. Reach out to us and schedule service for your Middle Tennessee home. We're standing by to help.