We have heard a lot about Asian Giant Hornets (AKA: Murder Hornets) lately. So what is the truth? How much of a threat are they here in New England?
The good news is that murder hornets present little threat to humans. The bad news is they present a huge threat to the honey bee population.
The name “murder hornets” actually relates to how quickly an asian giant hornet can annihilate an entire honey bee colony. The hornets tear off the honey bees head and bring the honey bees body back to feed their young. They have been known in Asia to wipe out entire honey bee colonies within hours of first invading the hive. Honey bees are incredibly important to our eco-system and food chain supply. Their numbers have been steadily decreasing for years so these hornets can present an enormous threat to them. Honey bees in Asia have developed some coping strategies to protect themselves from the asian hornet.
The asian giant hornet rarely goes after humans. Usually, if a human is stung, it is because the hornets feel disturbed or as if they need to defend themselves. Their sting carries more venom than our native European hornets, making the asian giant hornet sting very painful. It would take multiple stings from an asian giant hornet to actually kill a human.
It is also important to note that the murder hornets have never been identified in our part of the country. The Northern most state they were found in was Washington state. Asian giant hornets were spotted in 2019 and only one single hornet was identified in 2020.
All in all the murder hornets are a very small threat to New England-thankfully.