The Murder Hornet comes from East Asia, South Asia, and Mainland Southeast Asia.  The insect was most commonly found in rural regions of Japan. The killers usually live in low mountain and forest regions, where they nest by digging into the ground. They typically have a black and yellow striped abdomen, similar to what you’d expect out of any hornet, but the face on the murder hornet is quite distinct. It’s large, with an orange or yellow head and prominent eyes.

Is it dangerous?

According to the New York Times, the hornets kill up to 50 people in Japan per year.  Murder hornets get their nickname from their aggressive hunting practices.  A worker hornet will seek out a honeybee hive and then signal other hornets to help force their way into the nests and overpower the bees defenses.   Murder Hornets are known for ripping off the heads of honeybees and feasting on the honey for weeks which results in killing the population of a hive.  While species of honeybees in Asia have better defenses against the hornet, honeybees of the US are easy targets.  Our bees are gentle natured and have good honey making abilities.  Sad news is that they’re already in danger of dying out and this “new” predictor won‘t help.  

What’s it look like? 

A 2010 article from National Geographic described these hornets as “small but highly efficient killing [machines]” that were approximately 2 inches long with a 3-inch wingspan. They typically have a black and yellow striped abdomen, similar to what you’d expect out of any hornet, but the face on the murder hornet is quite distinct. It’s large, with an orange or yellow head and prominent eyes.  Although people have died from this hornet’s painful sting, the insects are only “killing machines” when it comes to bees.  

Are they a Threat to the U.S.?

While the murder hornets present a significant threat to the honeybee population of the US, they are not invincible.   The hornets can be contained and eliminated with use of poison, controlled fires and traps.   If possible, scientists want to move quickly in order to figure out where murder hornets have established nests and take action against them to make sure they don’t destroy the already shrinking honeybee population.