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May 5, 2020

“Murder” Hornets: Should you panic? Probably not. Here’s why.


Elizabeth Barnes, Exotic Forest Pest Educator, Purdue University

Brock Harpur, Entomology Assistant Professor, Purdue University

Cliff Sadof, Extension Entomologist, Purdue University

Headlines all over the country have been sounding the alarm about “murder” hornets. Should you be worried? Yes and no. The presence of these hornets in the United States is bad news for bees and beekeepers alike but there’s no need to panic yet.

 Click image to enlarge
Asian giant hornet Close up image of an Asian giant hornet. It has a bright mustard yellow head and large dark, honey brown eyes. The rest of its body is covered in similar patterning. Image is taken by t-mizo on flickr.com.
Asian giant hornet Asian giant hornets have bright yellow heads and a distinctive large body size. Image taken by LiCheng Shih of flickr.com.

Where did they come from and where are they right now?

            The Asian giant hornet originally came from tropical and temperate Asia. We are currently only aware of introductions in British Columbia and Washington State. It’s very unlikely that you’ve encountered one if you live in other parts of North America.


Are they in Indiana yet?

No, they have not been seen in Indiana nor have they been seen in any states near us. It is highly unlikely that there are any Asian giant hornets in Indiana.


What’s with the name?

The name murder hornet is a misnomer. They’re not malicious. They’re just hungry, efficient hunters. If you’re interested in learning more about this hornet, try looking under one of its other names: Asian giant hornet, giant Asian wasp, giant Japanese hornet, giant sparrow wasp, or, if you know a bit of Japanese, オオスズメバチ.


Please see the full article at The Purdue Landscape Report.

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