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OSU professor weighs in on 'murder hornets'

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Posted at 11:25 AM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 23:25:15-04

STILLWATER, Okla. — An Oklahoma State University professor weighs in on the "Asian giant hornets," and how Oklahomans need to keep their eyes out for them.

"Asian giant hornets" are an invasive and potentially deadly species and they've just been found in the US for the first time, reports CNN.

"Murder Hornet" is the nickname researchers have given the species. The murder hornet's venomous sting is said to have the potential to kill a human if they are stung several times.

Beekeeper's beware, CNN reports that the murder hornet's are strong enough to puncture a beekeeper's suit.

The hornets are described as being two inches in length and are reportedly attacking Washington state bee hives.

Oklahoma State University entomology and plant pathology professor Wyatt Hoback is shedding light on the public's concerns over the "murder hornets."

Professor Hoback says that the reason the murder hornet is a concerns to Americans is because this is a hornet that is a "non-native species with a unique biology."

"The problem for the U.S., Europe, and parts of the world where these hornets are native is that people have introduced European honey bees. The hornets get their common name “murder hornets” from attacking bee hives and killing all the workers so they can take the larvae and resources to feed their own offspring. Thirty giant hornets can kill 30,000 domestic bees," Professor Hoback said.

He adds that the giant hornets have a lot of venom and are considered to have one of the most-painful stings in the world, due to their size.

Professor Hoback says that the Asian giant hornet isn't established in the United States because their was one nest located in Washington state, after a bee hive had been attacked, and that nest was destroyed. Also, another nest was found in Vancouver Canada, but there have been no other sightings in the U.S. since 2019.

As far as Oklahoma goes, Professor Hoback says that they have not found any of the murder hornet species in the state. He added that due to it being a native species in central Asia, the climate in Oklahoma would support it.

Professor Hoback says, "People should keep an eye out, but also learn to recognize native species that provide really valuable services. Native hornets eat pest insects including caterpillars, although they have similar coloration, native species are much smaller. This fall, large solitary wasps will emerge. These are cicada killers. Although the name sounds intimidating, they are not aggressive, have a very weak sting, and help to limit the number of cicadas that feed on plant roots while immature."

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