Bug experts: threat of giant hornets overblown

HeatAndCool.com

(8 May 2020) Insect experts say people should calm down about the big bug with the nickname “murder hornet” — unless you are a beekeeper or a honeybee. The Asian giant hornets found in Washington state that grabbed headlines this week aren’t big killers of humans, although it does happen on rare occasions. But the world’s largest hornets do decapitate entire hives of honeybees, and that crucial food pollinator is already in big trouble. Numerous bug experts told The Associated Press that what they call hornet “hype” reminds them of the 1970s public scare when Africanized honeybees, nicknamed “killer bees,” started moving north from South America. While these more aggressive bees did make it up to Texas and the Southwest, they didn’t live up to the horror-movie moniker. However, they also do kill people in rare situations. This time it’s hornets with the homicidal nickname, which bug experts want to ditch. “The murder hornet moniker has created a lot of fear in this area. That’s probably overblown,” said Washington Agriculture Department entomologist Chris Looney, who is working on the state’s search for these large hornets. Looney checked traps set out in Blaine, Washington, Thursday for the hornets, but did not find any. The facts are, experts said, two dead hornets were found in Washington last December, a lone Canadian live nest was found and wiped out last September and no live hornets have yet been seen this year. While its nickname exaggerates the human health threat, experts said this hornet is especially big — two inches long — so it does carry more and stronger toxin.

 

HeatAndCool.com

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