Asian Giant Hornets Arrive in North America, Pose Threat to Humans, Honeybees and Ecosystems


The Asian Giant Hornet, or the "murder hornet," in comparison to a human hand. Creative Commons image: Washington State Department of Agriculture on Flickr.

Lexi Friesel, Assistant Sports Editor

Several Asian giant hornets, frequently called “murder hornets” because of their deadly nature, have been found in the Washington state area. According to CBS News, “The hornets are usually between 1.5 to 2 inches long, have large yellow-orange heads with prominent eyes, and a black and yellow striped abdomen.”

These insects are not only significantly larger than a typical bee or wasp, but they are also more dangerous. According to The New York Times, murder hornets kill about 50 people a year in Japan. The sting of an Asian giant hornet is mainly a concern for those with a preexisting allergy to bees, wasps and hornets. 

 These hornets also have the capability to destroy honeybee hives and prey on honeybees. This is an issue, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Bees pollinate around 75% of the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the United States, a USDA report said.

However, the hornets’ arrival in California is still uncertain. According to Tanya Buxton, science teacher and advisor of the Menlo Beekeeping Club, the likelihood for these insects to come anywhere near campus is low, and the insects would have a hard time surviving in the California climate. “Recently, no more hornets have been found near Vancouver or anywhere else on the West Coast. There is an effort right now to look out for them and kill any queens found,” Buxton said in an email to The Coat of Arms.

As advisor of the Menlo beekeeping club, Buxton has been checking on the honeybee hives located at the school on a regular basis.