Murder Hornets – Horror or Hype?

Murder Hornets – Horror or Hype?

The Internet has recently been awash with stories of “murder hornets” invading the United States. On the heels of the COVID-19 crisis… social media exploded with stories of these Asian giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia) crossing into the United States set to kill people as well as native bee populations.

The hornets (1.5 to 2 inches long) have large orange-yellow heads with bulging eyes and a black and yellow striped abdomen.

The facts:

  • Vespa mandarinia was first spotted in the U.S. in December of 2019
  • The species is very invasive and health hazard to humans and bees
  • Just a few hornets can destroy a complete hive of bees in just hours
  • Their life cycle begins in April but they are most dangerous from late Summer to early Fall
  • Due to the neurotoxins multiple stings can kill even someone not allergic
  • Due to the length of their stinger, beekeeping suits offer no protection against an attack
  • These hornets have no interest in attacking humans unless provoked

Amid all these “facts” experts have warned that as with most things seen on the internet, the hype is quite overblown.

“This is 99% media hype and frankly I’m getting tired of it,” said University of Delaware entomologist Doug Tallamy. “Murder hornet? Please.”

Much like the 1970s scare around Africanized honeybees (labelled “killer bees” by the media) that never amounted to a real threat to people, “Murder hornets” too are being over sensationalized.  If you want something to fear… try fearing the “news” you find on social media.

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