Murder Hornets

Dubbed murder hornets, Asian Giant Hornets are poised to impact struggling North American bee populations. Entomologists suspect winter hibernating Asian behemoths arrived as undetected cargo ship stowaways. These alarmingly large (queens grow over 5 cm, minions 3.5 cm ) behemoths invade bee hives, decapitating prey and flying off with thoraxes to feed their young – beehives wiped out in a matter of hours.  Not quite Starship Troopers, but close enough if you’re a honeybee.

A dead Asian giant

Dead Asian Giant Hornet courtesy Washington State Dept. of Agriculture

First discovered in British Columbia, August 2019, the following month Vancouver Island beekeepers eradicated a large giant hornet nest. They’ve been spotted in Washington State and White Rock, B.C. In March 2020 officials in British Columbia issued a public alert – do not approach, but report sightings immediately.

“This is our window to keep it from establishing,” Chris Looney, a Washington State entomologist, said of the two-inch Asian giant hornet. He displayed a dead hornet on his jacket.

Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

While not generally interested in people, pets or livestock, you wouldn’t want to piss them off.  Stings from their particularly long stinger capable of penetrating a beekeepers suit is described as excruciating.

15 thoughts on “Murder Hornets

  1. As my high school chum told me recently, when the virus quarantine is over & we are finally free to go outside, we’ll be afraid of the wasps. (Not really, but I chuckled anyway)

  2. I agree that fear is far worse than the danger. My non-Australian friends often worry about me having been to the Australian bush and their beaches. Spiders, crocodiles, snakes and sharks loom high in the imagination. Between these beasties, a handful, i.e. less than 5 people are killed annually in Australia.

    The chance of me being killed crossing the road is a precisely 100 times higher but I do not fear the road. We are scared of unknown dangers but blasé about the familiar ones.

      • You mean the mind experiment that a brain could pop into existence as a mere random encounter of atoms? As a thought experiment, why not. It is theoretically possible that you drop a glass and shatter it but that the shards jump backup and reform a glass. In reality these are virtually impossible events.
        A lot of Intelligent Design proponents get hung up about the complexity of the eye or DNA or whatever and calculate that random chance cannot explain these things and ergo, there is a creator.

        I think that these are ignorant thought experiments. (Not Boltzmann – he was very smart and the Boltzmann Brain does not attempt to explain how we got here).

        If fractals have taught be anything it is that highly structured and complex systems can evolve from the simplest of beginnings. The famous butterfly flapping it wings that lead to a hurricane on the other side of the world is another example. Chaos + Fractals are a powerful recipe for Order and Complexity. I firmly believe that very little accidental order is required for everything that has evolved.

        I hope to prove it one day 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Sigh. Thanks for commenting. Too much free time for pod casts cloud my mind with theoretical physics static. I have little doubt fractals hold fundamental explanations for unimaginable possibilities. Know I’m one of your greatest enthusiasts, a woman in awe of what you strive to prove.

      • I ha e just realized that I’m incurably attracted to virtually unsolvable problems. I love he feeling of the infinite journey with an unattainable destination because I know I will see wonders on the way. My experience is that reaching the actual destination is often the most disappointing part of that journey, for it is the end.

        Incidentally I have been working on randomness as a foundation for creation. I developed some electronics for generation randomness (numbers). I have no idea where that will lead but I’m having fun with that unknown.

      • The chasm between your pursuit of unsolvable randomness and my pedestrian sense of wonder is vast. Truth being I find comfort in conjunction of our perspectives. Thank you for tipping a hat to this dreamer. 🙂

  3. If Trump takes charge of the giant hornet problem and handles it the way he did covid-19, there will be billions of the damn things all over the country by June.

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