Scientists hunting 'murder hornets' before they devastate U.S. bees

Scientists hunting 'murder hornets' before they devastate U.S. bees
Washington Post
May 4, 2020
May 4, 2020 11:39 AM EDT
Asian giant hornets, nicknamed "murder hornets," attack honeybee hives, decapitate the bees and feed their bodies to their young. Handout / Washington State Department of Agriculture
As if 2020 weren’t terrifying enough, now we have to worry about “murder hornets.”
The world’s largest hornet — the size of a matchbox – is known for invading honeybee hives, decapitating all the bees in a matter of hours and carrying the mangled thoraxes back to feed their young.
And now they’re in the United States.
Asian giant hornets / Washington State Department of Agriculture
The Washington State Department of Agriculture is trying to track down the fearsome insects, also nicknamed “yak-killer hornets” or “giant sparrow bees,” after officials received and verified four reports of them in December in the northwestern part of the state. They were also spotted in two sites in the Canadian province of British Columbia in the fall.
In a New York Times story that made the term “murder hornets” trend on Twitter on Saturday, Conrad Berube, a beekeeper and entomologist in Nanaimo, B.C., described being stung by an Asian giant hornet as “like having red-hot thumbtacks being driven into my flesh.”
The hornets primarily attack insects but will direct their aggression toward people if they’re threatened. Their quarter-inch stingers, which can penetrate beekeeping suits, deploy a venom potent enough to dissolve human flesh.
Absorbing multiple stings can be deadly. The nervous system can shut down, and an allergic reaction may occur and cause anaphylactic shock. The insects kill 30 to 40 people each year in Japan, where they’re most common.
But the giant hornets are primarily a danger to bees. Scientists are now hunting for the insects, whose queens can grow to two inches long, in hopes of rounding them up before they become rooted in the United States and destroy bee populations that are crucial to crop pollination.
“This is our window to keep it from establishing,” Chris Looney, an entomologist at the Washington State Department of Agriculture, told The Times. “If we can’t do it in the next couple of years, it probably can’t be done.”
Some insects native to the northwestern United States have been confused for the invasive hornets, but real Asian giant hornets have distinctive qualities: large orange and yellow heads with teardrop eyes, black and yellow striped abdomens and papery wings that span up to three inches.
A colony of Asian giant hornets can kill nearly 30,000 bees in a few hours. The attack begins when a scout finds a new hive and marks it with a pheromone secreted from glands in its back legs, signaling to other hornets that they should gather.
As the bees try to defend their colonies, worker hornets use powerful mandibles – appendages near their mouths – to chop up the bees and chew them into gooey “meatballs” before carrying the protein-heavy remains back to their young.
Asian giant hornets mostly fly under the radar in the winter, when queen hornets hibernate in soil or other covered places. Mated queens emerge when the temperature warms between mid-March and May and eat sap for energy to start a new colony. The hornets launch most of their attacks on bees in the late summer and early fall.
Scientists don’t know how Asian giant hornets found their way to the United States, but Looney said in a video presentation that they may have been hibernating in a ship’s ballast or in a product that was transported from Asia to North America.
In a less likely scenario, Looney said, someone might have transported the hornets here to cultivate them as a food source. Some people in Asian countries eat the meaty hornets, and their juice is sometimes used as a performance-enhancing supplement.
Washington state employees plan to try to trap hornets and destroy their nests this spring and summer before the population gets out of hand.
'MURDER HORNET': Deadly insects discovered in U.S. near Canadian border
May 4, 2020
May 4, 2020 11:55 PM EDT
Hundreds of Asian giant hornets, an invasive, predatory insect dubbed the “murder hornet,” have turned up in Washington state near the Canadian border, where they pose a threat to humans and the beekeeping industry, state agriculture officials said on Monday.
The stinging Vespa mandarinia can grow as large as 2-1/2 inches (6.35 cm) in length and is native to Southeast Asia, China and Taiwan. It was first discovered in Blaine, Washington, in December by a homeowner, according to Sven-Erik Spichiger, managing entomologist at the Washington state Agriculture Department.
“An Asian giant hornet can sting you multiple times and deliver larger doses of venom just because of the size of them. The venom itself is fairly toxic and creates localized necrosis around the wound so you’ll see melting flesh around the wound,” Spichiger told Reuters.
“What we’re told from the literature is that most people can survive one or two stings,” he said. “But if you sustain multiple stings, the necrosis and the venom will actually start getting into your bloodstream and will start working on your organs. And multiple stings could literally be fatal.”
Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologist Chris Looney holds an Asian Giant Hornet caught in a trap near Blaine, Washington, on April 23, 2020. Karla Salp / Washington State Department of Agriculture / Handout / Reuters
Aside from the danger to humans, the Murder Hornet presents a danger to agriculture and the apiary industry, Spichiger said, because the insect is known to attack honey bees, with a few of the hornets capable of wiping out an entire hive in hours.
“The hornets enter a ‘slaughter phase’ where they kill bees by decapitating them. They then defend the hive as their own, taking the brood to feed their own young,” according to the Washington state Department of Agriculture website.
“Pollination is a huge part of agriculture and the agricultural systems we have here in the United States. And so if this were to become well-established and then start spreading, it could be pretty catastrophic,” Spichiger said.
Scientists don’t know for sure how the Murder Hornet made its way to Blaine. The most likely scenario is that it arrived on a container ship docking at one of Washington’s ports. Intentional transport of the killer bug into the United States would violate federal law.
Following the discovery of the first hornet, a web page set up by Washington state agriculture officials to report additional sightings of the insect has received several hundred reports, Spichiger said.
Anyone coming across a nest should immediately alert authorities. While the hornets do not generally target people or pets, they can attack when threatened.
“We really don’t want any private citizen trying to mess with an Asian giant hornet nest. Typical beekeeping attire will simply not protect you. The stinger on this insect is six millimetres long and will go readily through most clothes,” Spichiger said.
bill barilko
Already posted you dumb dork.
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Quote: Originally Posted by bill barilko View Post

Already posted you dumb dork.

I don't why this pos is still allowed to post here and why this is allowed to continue. if something isn't done about this. I'm done here.