Two new specimens of Asian giant hornet have turned up in the Pacific Northwest, suggesting that the invasive species made it through the winter despite efforts last year to stamp out the menace to North America’s honeybees.
A big, yellow-and-black insect found dead in a roadway near Custer, Wash., has been identified as the Asian giant hornet, or Vespa mandarinia, Sven Spichiger, an entomologist at the Washington State Department of Agriculture, announced May 29. It was “probably a queen,” he said, from a brood in a 2019 nest and now ready to found a colony of her own.
Canadian scientists have also confirmed their first giant hornet of 2020, a specimen spotted May 15 in Langley, British Columbia.
Dubbed the “murder hornet” to the annoyance of entomologists, the predator earns its nickname from its proclivity to nab a honeybee, bite off the bee’s head carried home to nourish young hornets. Raiding parties of several dozen Asian giant hornets can kill whole hives containing thousands of bees in a few hours.