What Are Murder Hornets And How Dangerous Are They?
Just when we thought things couldn't get any worse...
Just when we thought things couldn't get any worse, 2020 surprises us once again, by bringing some giant wasps to North-America. If you're living elsewhere, don't smile just yet. You never know what you're getting next: it could be volcanoes, earthquakes, or worse, giant flying spiders.
What are murder hornets?
The so-called Asian Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia) is the world's largest hornet. Hornets are large wasps, with some species reaching up to 5.5 cm or 2.2 in length. The Asian Giat Hornets, also known as "Murder Hornets", is native to East, South, and Southeast Asia, as well as parts of Far East Russia. They usually live in low mountain areas and forests, avoiding plains or high altitudes. Their bodies measure about 4.5 cm or 1.8 in, their wingspan around 7.5 cm (3 in), and their stinger is 6mm long. They are venomous, and they feed on larger insects, bees, honey, and tree sap. In other words, they are just large wasps that eat other insects.
The murder hornet has arrived in North America.
The Asian giant hornet has been spotted in Washington State, alarming the authorities. Recently, photos and videos showing this insect attacking honeybees have been posted online. The murder hornet has large biting mouthparts it uses to rip off the heads of bees, killing them in large numbers - They can murder 40 bees per minute. It's like a supervillain insect that enters the beehives and kills with cold blood. As you know, bees are important pollinators and beekeepers supply billions of honeybees every year for agricultural crops. So, if this killer hornet consolidates on the continent, it will be a serious threat for the bee population, and as a result, will have a negative impact on agriculture. Authorities and local beekeepers are worried and they're doing everything they can to eradicate this evil giant cold-blooded insect.
Are murder hornets dangerous for humans?
If we consider milligram by milligram, the hornet's venom isn't more dangerous than a honeybee's. However, since this insect is a lot bigger, it comes in bigger doses, and while a bee dies after it stings you... the hornet doesn't. And it can sting you over and over again. Moreover, when it stings you, it releases a pheromone that attracts more of its friends. Those who have experienced it say it feels like being stabbed with a hot metal pin. Also, the standard protective gear won't protect you, as the hornet's stinger is long enough to pierce it.
Is their sting fatal?
It can be. 30 to 50 deaths caused by these insects are reported every year in Japan, and for those who are allergic, they are a serious threat. Also, according to National Geographic, it can kill even if you're not allergic, if they sting you repeatedly, as 50 or fewer stings can cause kidney damage.
So, if you were eager to go outside after lockdown, think again. Home is still the safest place you can be. I wonder what we're getting in June...