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"Murder Hornets" spotted in Washington State, will they make their way to Texas?

Posted at 5:56 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 19:06:03-04

BRYAN, TX — While many are spending more time outside with the warmer weather, you may want to pay closer attention to bees and wasps as the Asian Giant Hornet has made its way to the United States.

The Asian Giant Hornet, also known as the Murder Hornet, grows up to two inches in length was spotted in the Pacific Northwest.

"They were first found on Vancouver Island in 2019."

Entomologist, like Robert Puckett with Texas A&M University, are tracking the hornets to protect the Honey Bee population.

"They are attempting to develop tracking measures to actively track workers and be able to follow them back to their nest," explains Puckett. "Because that’s the hard part, their nest is in the ground and their colonies can become quite large and finding them though is often very difficult.”

The Asian Giant Hornet didn't get the nickname Murder Hornet just from decimating entire honeybee colonies, its known to kill roughly 30 people a year in Japan due to powerful sting, which has people on edge.

“Unfortunately, people lose their lives every year in Asia as a result of stings from these wasps," says Puckett.

Right now, the Asian Giant Hornet has only been spotted in the state of Washington and there is no way to know if it will make its way to Texas.

“It’s unclear whether or not they will be part of the community of insects that we live in the southern united states," says Puckett. "It’s unclear whether or not they can make it in our hot dry climates.”

The Brazos Valley is not a stranger to large wasps, the Texas Apiary Inspection Service anticipates that some may mistake the Cicada Killer Wasp for the Murder Hornet.

“I can see people confusing a Cicada killing wasps and thinking its an Asian Giant Hornet and that’s ok," says Mary Reed Chief Apiary Inspector. "If people see that I want them to know they can take a picture or they come across a dead specimen to send that in.”

Experts say if you do encounter an Asian Giant Hornet, get as far away from it as you can.