The arrival of the so-called Asian “murder hornet,” an invasive species to North America, with a nickname that puts “Africanized killer bees” to shame, carries fears that the giant hornet could be disastrous for European honeybee species.
This supersized predator received the nickname as the giant insects can slaughter entire colonies of honeybees, though they’ve also been linked to a few dozen human deaths each year.
The Asian giant hornet, as it’s officially known, is the biggest hornet in the world, with a massive, toxic stinger, an armoured body and an affinity for biting the heads off bees. It also packs a nasty sting for humans, however, typically does not attack unless its nest is threatened.
Habitually, the Asian giant hornet lives in countries like Japan and China, but several specimens were found in British Columbia and Washington state late last year. Wildlife officials are now investigating fresh reports of the insects on both sides of the border, as the giant hornet queens come out of hibernation to venture out for food.