The emergence of two new specimens of Asian giant hornet in Pacific Northwest suggests that they made it through the winter despite efforts last year, ScienceNews reports.
On May 29, Sven Spichiger, an entomologist at the Washington State Department of Agriculture, announced that the big, yellow-and-black insect found dead in a roadway near Custer, Washington, is identified as the Asian giant hornet or scientifically known as Vespa mandarinia.
Likewise, the Canadian government has confirmed its first Asian hornet of 2020.
The giant hornet or dubbed as "murder hornet" earned its name from its proclivity to nab a honeybee. It bites off the bee's head and carries it home to feed their young. Raiding parties of murder hornets can kill whole hives of bees in a few hours.
Giant Hornet Invasion Not New
Contrary to popular belief, the invasion of giant hornet is not new. But what's new is for North America to confirm in September 2019 that giant hornets are in the wild, particularly in Vancouver, Canada. Additionally, lone flying hornets also showed up on both sides of the Canada-US border, and one at the Blaine Washington.
But it was not the insect's first touchdown in North America. In 2016, California had an overlooked close call as an express package coming into San Francisco airport held some papery honeycomb-like nest, says entomologist Allan Smith-Pardo. There are no adults in the package but plenty of pupae.
What's so Scary of Giant Hornets, and why do they Attack Honeybees?
Giant hornets are big, predatory, colony-forming wasps that need meat to feed their young, unlike honeybees, which collect pollen as baby food. Another difference is that honeybees die after stinging once, but hornets can sting and sting again.
But hornets do not really specialize in honeybees, according to James Carpenter, a hornet specialist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. But toward the fall, the hornets face heavy demands for protein to raise the next generation of queens that will take shelter during the winter season and start their own colony in spring.
Workers have to team up to attack high-value targets such as whole nests of honeybees, other species of hornets, and yellow jackets. The giant hornets kill the adults and bring back the food for their larvae.
Giant Hornet's Sting, and how Dangerous Will they be for People?
The giant hornet could zing the biggest dose of relatively strong venom to its target, about 1,000 micrograms per individual. One full sting of its venom would have a 50% chance of killing a decent-sized rodent.
Moreover, in a 1986 paper said that Japan has recorded around 40 to 50 people per year are stung by the bees. That includes people allergic to the bee's sting. 14 out of the 50 people discussed in the paper had a good chance of surviving.