You may have read recently that “murder hornets” have made their way from Asia to the United States and are coming to get you. Well, if we are to believe bug experts, there isn’t much to worry about.
Back in late 2019, it was reported that the Asian giant hornet, also known as “murder hornet,” was spotted for the first time in history. Native to Asia and reaching up to 2.0 inches in size, this insect came to America with a scary reputation.
This hornet can have a sting that can be as big as 1⁄4 inches and is known for its ability to hunt down humans when provoked. They are known for stinging their victims up to 300 times, and around 50 people in Japan alone have died because of them.
So, rightfully so, Americans were worried about their arrival. But they shouldn’t be, says Washington Agriculture Department entomologist Chris Looney.
“They are not “murder hornets.” They are just hornets,” explains Looney, who is among the experts researching the arrival of Asian giant hornet to the U.S. “The number of people who are stung and have to seek medical attention is incredibly small.”
There are fears that Asian giant hornets could start spreading across the states now that they arrived, but this scenario is highly unlikely. According to Looney, two dead “murder hornets” were found in 2019 alongside a hive in Canada. There are yet to be seen alive in 2020 in the United States, and most bug experts refer to fear of this insect as “media hype.”
“You shouldn’t worry about it,” says Floyd Shockley, the entomology collections manager at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. “More people die of honey bee stings in the U.S. than die annually, globally, from these hornets. “