Invasive “Murder Hornets” Make Their Way to the US

An Asian giant hornet feeds on a mantis. Image: Joe Carey

Are you trying to tell us something, 2020?

Just when we thought this year couldn’t get any more ridiculous, we find out that “murder hornets” — the largest hornets on the planet — have landed in the US for the first time ever.

Asian giant hornets, or “murder hornets,” were first spotted in Washington state late last year, and are beginning to emerge again in 2020 with spring’s rising temperatures.

The “shockingly large” hornets measure 2 inches in length and are known to invade and destroy honeybee hives, decapitating the bees and feeding the body parts to their young. They then take over the hive as their own.

Even more frightening is the fact that it only takes a handful of hornets a couple of hours to completely destroy a thriving hive.

If the colossal stinging insects continue to spread, honeybee populations across Washington and beyond could be decimated.

Image: Yasunori Koide

These hornets don’t generally attack people or pets unless provoked; however, their stingers are larger, more toxic, and they can sting more than once. If stung multiple times by more than one hornet, they can kill you.

Watch one of these hornets take down a mouse in the video below (if you dare):

Officials still don’t know what brought the hornets to the US, but they’re taking swift action to eradicate them as soon as possible. “At this time, Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has implemented an aggressive outreach and trapping campaign,” the WSDA told TIME. Beekeepers in the area are helping as much as they can by providing timely information and deploying traps when possible.

You don’t want to try to take these guys out yourself, according to entomologists. The WSDA Pest Program said in a press release, “if you get into them, run away, then call us!”

Yikes. What next, 2020?