Now That the Asian Giant Hornet A.K.A “Murder Hornet” Has Arrived in the United States Should We Be Concerned in the State of Indiana?
“Killer Hornets Seattle”, “Murderous Asian Giant Hornets”, “Murder Hornets” …by now, you have likely seen at least one of these alarming headlines stream across your news feed, on a breaking news broadcast, or even on one of your social media accounts.
The vicious, murderous bees on a mission to completely annihilate civilization as we know it have now arrived, or…. have they?
The answer is “no”.
Despite the latest “buzz” among the media, swarms of killer bees will not be invading the world anytime soon.
In fact, the headlines are nothing more than hype. While it is true that the oriental hornets making headlines may prove to be troublesome for other types of bees and those that tend bees, you really do not have anything to be concerned about – especially if you live in the State of Indiana.
Are Murder Hornets New to the United States?
The media-described “Murder Hornets” are actually nothing more than the Asian Giant Hornet. These insects are native to eastern Asia, which is a tropical region that is temperate. Common location areas include Sri Lanka, Japan, India, and China.
In the Fall of 2019, the insects were discovered on Vancouver Island, which is located in British Columbia. The nest that was found was immediately destroyed. In December of 2019, a deceased Asian Giant Hornet was discovered in Washington State.
This marked the first time that the Asian Giant Hornet or “Murder Hornet” was actually recorded within the United States. It is unknown – at this time – if this species of hornet is established in the nation; however, scientists believe that they are not due to the lack of evidence, thereof.
What Do Murder Hornets Look Like?
The Murder Hornets (Asian Giant Hornets) are an extremely interesting species, in terms of their appearance. The queen is dubbed the “largest wasp”, worldwide.
This stems from the fact that she is capable of growing over 2 inches long and her wingspan may be as large as 3 inches. They rarely come from their nest, though.
In fact, there are only 2 times that researchers have been able to identify the queen out of the nest. The first is when they are in hibernation mode and the second is the spring time, right before her workers come out of the nest.
While the size of these wasps is considered to be quite appalling, their appearance if even more appalling. Upon close glance, you will find that their coloring is considered to be quite striking. They have bright, yellow and black (sometimes, brown) stripes on the abdominal region. Their heads are completely yellow.
The head is the main difference between these hornets and others. Not just because of their color, though. It is also because of the overall size of the head.
Additionally, they are recognized by the fact that they are larger than any other type of bee or wasp that is currently present in the United States. Many state that the face resembles one that would be drawn in cartoons or spotted in animated features because it is so unusual.
Are Their Murder Hornets in the State of Indiana?
Now that you have heard of the Asian Murder Hornets, it is quite likely that you are concerned as to whether or not they are located in the State of Indiana.
Good news! They are not.
Best of all, they are not likely to be located in the state anytime soon, if ever. No traces of these wasps have been found in any of the states near Indiana. If we ever stumble across these insects or hear of their arrival within the State of Indiana, we will immediately publish a post to provide an update to our readers. We do not foresee this happening, though.
Why Are They Called “Murder Hornets”?
The utilization of the word “Murder” in the Asian Giant Hornet name is simply an inaccurate description. These wasps are simply attempting to survive by locating food sources (which are NOT human, by the way), and are considered to be highly efficient hunters.
Now, if you happen to discover a colony of these wasps anywhere (highly unlikely unless you live in eastern Asia), you should not approach them.
They have a venomous sting that is likely to burn, cause pain, and high amounts of discomfort. The same holds true for other types of bees and wasps, too. Anyone is capable of having an allergic reaction. If stung more than once, you may find yourself in a serious situation.
These wasps are not typically aggressive unless they feel as if they must defend their nest. If hunting, they may become aggressive in attacking beehives. Other than that, though, you really have no reason to be concerned.
Do They Really Attack Other Bees?
Yes, the Asian Giant Hornets do attack beehives in an effort to collect a food source for survival. When one stumbles upon a hive, they will initiate the process by marking it with a special scent.
This scent helps to attract other Asian Giant Hornets. The wasps will quickly infringe upon the beehive together and take it over with a ferocious attack.
They then move on to find the larval bees. The hornets then collect these to take back to their own nest for feeding. In most instances, these attacks occur in the late summer months and within the early fall months. In addition to feeding on bees, they also feed on other types of insects.
These include the large caterpillar and the praying mantis. Again, it is not simply to kill when these wasps attack. It is their mode of survival, nothing more.
How Did They End Up in The United States?
To date, the scientists that have discovered and analyzed the Murder Hornets simply are unsure as to how it is that they arrived in the State of Washington.
While still under speculation at the time, it is believed that they – perhaps – were transported through international-based cargo that came into the United States. That is the most likely case.
While it is possible that someone could have intentionally brought the hornets to the United States, it is not likely. Very few people would want to go through the trouble or experience the neurotoxic stings of the wasp.
It is likely an accidental arrival and eradication is likely to be quick and effective before any type of massive population of Asian Giant Hornets occur within the country.
Currently, professionals in the State of Washington and in Canada are collaborating to completely eradicate the hornets from both countries.
Highly aggressive measures are being taken to eliminate any that are discovered in these areas. This is a highly invasive species.
The hope is, if they are eradicated now, they will not have the opportunity to set up their nests and reproduce. In taking these measures, no other location in North America will have to worry themselves over the Asian Giant Hornets. It is critical that the public works closely with these scientists to help them succeed in their endeavor.
How to Help the Eradication Efforts
While it is true that individuals in the State of Indiana have nothing to worry over right now, it is not impossible for these hornets to find their way into other locations. While highly unlikely, it is important for people around the country to keep their eyes open.
If you stumble across a wasp that you believe to the be the Asian Giant Hornet, you should contact a specialist and report your findings. You may do so by calling 1-866-No-Exotic or by emailing depp@dnr.IN.gov.
Failure to eradicate a colony of Asian Giant Hornets could result in complete devastation to our country’s bee population – which is already experiencing many complications.
Bees are directly responsible for pollinating plants.
These include those that are responsible for our nation’s supply of nuts, vegetables, and fruits. Unfortunately, bees are an insect species that is already included on numerous lists that outline endangered species.
If Murder Hornets are left to decimate the populations that remain, it will have a devastating impact on our food supply.
If you report any hornets that you believe to be Asian Giant Hornets, you could play a direct role in saving millions of bees; therefore, preserving our nation’s food supply, too.
The Stinger and Sting of the Murder Hornet
Generally speaking, the stinger that is located on the Asian Giant Hornet is about a quarter of an inch long.
The venom emitted from it is potent and contains a cytolytic peptide.
The specific one is called “mastoparan”. When injected, it has the capability of damaging tissue that it comes in contact with.
When a person is stung by one of these wasps, it results in a sharp prick that results in a burning sensation. It puts out a neurotoxin.
In most instances, a single sting is not considered to be lethal; however, in those that have an allergic reaction, the sting may result in complications.
If stung multiple times, it could prove lethal.
The increased severity of the sting mostly stems from the fact that – due to its large size – it injects more into its subject at once than other types of wasps and bees are capable.
In Asia, populations are advised to seek medical help if they have been stung at least 10 times. Those that have been stung more than that are advised to seek emergency medical treatment right away.
Many humans are unable to neutralize the amount of venom that is injected into the skin as a result of a sting. Research has indicated that death typically only occurs after an average of 59 times – which is very rare.
The cause of death in these instances is typically a result of anaphylactic shock, cardiac arrest, and/or organ failure. Multiple organ failure may also occur.
Keep in mind, though, this research is from areas with high concentrations of the hornet. The United States does not have a high concentration. Again, only one deceased Asian Giant Hornet has been discovered here, to date.
Hornet Control Strategies
To date, there are 6 effective control strategies for the Asian Giant Hornet. These include beating, nest removal, bait traps, mass level poisonings, trapping performed at the entrances of the hives, and protective screens.
IF – that’s a very strong “if” – these hornets were to invade Indiana, we here at All Pest have the skills, tools, and know-how for successful removal. To protect our bee species, eradication is essential.
If you are to observe these insects, make your report immediately. You may then contact our office for the next steps, which may include elimination from your property. Our steps would be governed by the researchers tracking populations. Again, we do not foresee this becoming an issue within the State of Indiana or the surrounding states.
Let Us Help
2020 is quickly becoming one of the most eventful years, to date. The global pandemic, tornado outbreaks and other unusual weather conditions, and a multitude of other unusual events have us all questioning what is next. The good news is, you do not have to worry over monstrous, murder hornets swarming you.
These are very rare in our region and are likely to stay away from our state. These creatures are more of a threat to our bee populations than to us.
Even if you had a nest in your yard, they would not become aggressive towards you unless they felt threatened by you.
As with any insect, if you have a question or a concern, you may contact us today for information and/or assistance. Simply call us today at: 765-259-0043