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'Murder hornets' have been spotted in the US for the first time

As if the pandemic wasn't bad enough, beekeepers and scientists have spotted murderous Asian giant hornets in Washington.

'Murder hornets' have been spotted in the US for the first time
Image Source: (L) portmanteauface / Twitter (R) Julien Dubois / Getty Images

The apocalypse is actually here, folks. Just when you thought things couldn't possibly get any worse, giant "murder hornets" have been spotted in the United States for the first time. They have freakish eyes and a venomous sting, which could prove quite the problem for anyone who has to confront one of these buggers. Formally known as the Asian giant hornet, these insects pose quite a threat to our already dwindling bee population. In collaboration with beekeepers, the Department of Agriculture in Washington (where the pests have been spotted), has established measures to tackle the issue, CNN reports. Some entomologists have also offered advice for anyone who comes in contact with the monstrous insects.



Susan Cobey, a bee breeder at the Washington State University's department of entomology, said of the murder hornets, "They're like something out of a monster cartoon with this huge yellow-orange face. These are the world's largest hornets and, if they sting a human multiple times, can be deadly. While they are native to the continent of Asia, they recently arrived in North America. The hornets were spotted in Washington in December. According to scientists, they became active again last month. This time of the year is typically when the queens emerge from hibernation to build nests and establish colonies.



"Hornets are most destructive in the late summer and early fall when they are on the hunt for sources of protein to raise next year's queens," Seth Truscott with WSU's college of agricultural, human, and natural resource sciences stated. "They attack honey bee hives, killing adult bees and devouring bee larvae and pupae, while aggressively defending the occupied colony. Their stings are big and painful, with a potent neurotoxin. Multiple stings can kill humans, even if they are not allergic." So, what should you do if you come face to face with one of the nasty - and murderous - hornets? The safest option, as per entomologist Chris Looney of the Washington Department of Agriculture, is to simply run away.



He said, "Don't try to take them out yourself if you see them. If you get into them, run away, then call us! It is really important for us to know of every sighting if we're going to have any hope of eradication." Residents of the following counties have been asking to remain vigilant: Whatcom, Skagit, Island, San Juan, Jefferson, and Clallam. Nonetheless, fret not, the state Department of Agriculture is taking preventative measures in order to tackle the issue. They have already started working with beekeepers in order to catch the insects in the coming months.



"The most likely time to catch Asian giant hornets is from July through October -- when colonies are established and workers are out foraging," the Department of Agriculture explained in a statement. "Traps can be hung as early as April if attempting to trap queens, but since there are significantly fewer queens than workers, catching a queen isn't very likely." As Asian giant hornet is known to prey on bees, it is imperative that folks act quickly. As bees help pollinate plants producing fruit, nuts, and vegetables, they are crucial to our food supply chain. Unfortunately, they are already on the endangered species list. The last thing they need is a bunch of murder hornets all up in their business. Don't worry, bees, us humans feel the same way too.



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