The hornets kill up to 50 people a year in Japan.
The hornets kill up to 50 people a year in Japan.

‘Murder hornets’ colonise for first time

As if things aren't currently terrifying enough, the United States is now dealing with an outbreak of deadly hornets that are more than 5cm long and capable of piercing through a beekeeper's suit.

The monster insect, nicknamed by researchers as the "murder hornet", has been found in the country for the first time and are responsible for killing up to 50 people a year in Japan.

The New York Times has penned a graphic anecdote from beekeeper Ted McFall in Washington State who found his beehive slaughtered by the frightening invader.

Thousands and thousands of his colony had "their heads torn from their body".

"Asian giant hornets can use mandibles shaped like spiked shark fins to wipe out a honeybee hive in a matter of hours, decapitating the bees and flying away with the thoraxes to feed their young," the newspaper recounted.

Unable to confirm if this is a ‘murder hornet’ but it’s certainly terrifying.
Unable to confirm if this is a ‘murder hornet’ but it’s certainly terrifying.

 

"For larger targets, the hornet's potent venom and stinger make for an excruciating combination that victims have likened to hot metal driving into their skin."

Mr McFall was shocked by the destruction of his bees. It was only later he figured the carnage could have been inflicted by a murder hornet.

"I couldn't wrap my head around what could have done that," he told the NYT.

The predatory insect was described in the piece as having "teardrop eyes like Spider-Man, orange and black stripes that extend down its body like a tiger, and broad, wispy wings like a small dragonfly."

Two have been spotted in the same state Mr McFall works, which is the first sighting in the US and now scientists have set out to hunt the hornet down, fearing it will colonise and decimate bee populations.

But Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologist Chris Looney is worried it may be too late.

"This is our window to keep it from establishing," he told NYT. "If we can't do it in the next couple of years, it probably can't be done."

Originally published as 'Murder hornets' colonise for first time



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