There have been reports as early as 2016 that the Asian hornet (Vespa mandarinia) was found in America. However, many dismissed it as a rare occurrence and that it was simply too cold in the northern latitudes for this species to survive to be of any level of concern. This is turning out to not be the case.
Why the murder hornets are here
Murder Hornets, also known as the Asian Giant Hornet, can be found in places such as Russia, China, Taiwan, and among many other Asian countries. Recently, they have invaded the US which has many scientists and experts worried.
Scientists captured a couple of murder hornets a few months prior. Using dental floss, they attached a GPS tracker on them and let them go. One of the trackers led scientists to a nest of these hornets in the town of Blaine, north of Seattle, Washington. The destruction of this nest killed 85 of these hornets, and scientists kept 15 of them for study.
"This is only the start of our work to hopefully prevent the Asian giant hornet from gaining a foothold in the Pacific Northwest," said Sven-Erik Spichiger, the entomologist who directed the eradication of the nest.
It is possible that there are other nests in the area.
Why they are a danger if left unmanaged
The first thing to mention is that murder hornets do not seem to pose much of a threat to humans. This should bring some solace in an otherwise hectic year. At most, these hornets kill a dozen people in Asia, if that, which is far fewer than honeybees.
That said, the biggest threat from these hornets is the killing of honeybees. These hornets attack honeybees, which are already vulnerable due to pesticides, diseases, and mites. Or, as the New York Times delicately put it:
"Asian giant hornets can use mandibles shaped like spiked shark fins to wipe out a honeybee hive in a matter of hours, decapitating the bees and flying away with the thoraxes to feed their young."
It is important for scientists to find out where these hornet nests are, and to prevent them from killing an already delicate species that we look upon for our survival.
You can watch a video of the eradication process below: