Summer is right around the corner—warmer weather, a break from school, and more time to relax and play outside, hopefully with friends and family. But now we’ve been hearing about this new insect that has been found in the US with the ominous name of murder hornet. Is this something else that’s going to keep us inside, something else we need to worry about? We asked James Whitney, an associate certified entomologist from our sister company Green Pest Solutions, for the scoop on the murder hornet.
What is the murder hornet?
The actual name of the murder hornet is the Asian Giant Hornet, and despite the hype on social media, they are not invading the United States. One or two have been found in Washington State, and while there is always concern about finding a non-native species in the US (they are native to Japan and East Asia), there is in no way an invasion.
The Asian Giant Hornet is the largest type of hornet, and the queen can grow to be two inches long. But still, they are not much bigger than Cicada Killers wasps which we have in abundance here in Kansas (don’t worry—Cicada Killers rarely sting humans).
Where do they live?
The good news for us in Kansas is that Asian Giant Hornets prefer to live in low mountains and forests, avoiding plains and high-altitude climates. They feed on primarily larger insects, colonies of other insects, tree sap, and honey from honeybee colonies. They are known for decimating honeybee colonies in Asia, and that is certainly a concern and a reason entomologists will continue to track the situation in Washington State.
Should we fear the murder hornet?
While there are deaths associated with the Asian Giant Hornet, they average about 30-50 each year in Japan. To put that in perspective, the United States averages about 62 deaths a year from hornet, wasp, and bee stings. Our associate certified entomologist said he would worry more about the diseases that mosquitoes can spread, as well as diseases spread by roaches, mice, and ticks.
So, it looks like we can spend time in our yards without fear of these hornets. If you have concerns about other pests in your yard or home, our team at Green Pest Solutions is happy to help. Check out their website at www.gpspest.com for more information.