The giant killer wasp, considered by experts to be the largest and most dangerous in the world, was first spotted in the United States in 2019. This invasive and destructive “murder hornet” has caused significant concern since its arrival.
This year, in the state of Washington, the “murder hornet” was sighted for the first time, and its behavior lived up to its menacing nickname – attacking anything in its path. These wasps can reach an impressive length of 4.4 centimeters.
The recent sighting occurred on August 11, just 3.2 kilometers from the initial discovery of this species in the US in December 2019, near Blaine, Washington, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).
As the nickname suggests, “murder hornets” are highly skilled at killing entire beehives. They use their powerful mandibles to kill and decapitate bees by the thousands. Once they have taken over a hive, they defend it as their own, destroying the brood to feed their own offspring, according to the WSDA.
Additionally, these hornets inject a significant amount of venom into their prey. While a single sting could potentially kill a human due to the amount of venom injected, such deaths are rare, as reported by the WSDA.
Given this recent observation in 2021, the WSDA is taking action by setting up live traps in the area. Entomologists will tag the captured wasps to track them back to their nests.
Furthermore, since the sighting occurred just 0.8 km from the US-Canada border, officials in that area will also be installing additional traps, as reported by the WSDA. The presence of these “murder hornets” poses a significant threat to local ecosystems, and efforts are being made to monitor and control their spread.