A deadly species of hornets from across the world has landed in our own backyard -- and the timing couldn't be worse with the coronavirus pandemic in full swing.
An epidemiologist named Chris Looney gave a detailed report to the NYT this weekend, outlining the first sightings of these giant Asian "murder" hornets here in North America -- first spotted in Washington state this past fall -- and the joint effort to eradicate them before they wipe out our bee population, not to mention any human casualties along the way.
The report says the giant Asian hornets tear up entire bee colonies by decapitating their heads with their jaws and feeding the bodies to their young. Up until around Novemer, the so-called "murder hornets" hadn't been seen here in the U.S., but now ... it seems they've arrived, and scientists are working on a way to get rid of them since summer's approaching, when the hornets are expected to be much more active.
The hornets kill people too, BTW -- the Times says up to 50 people get stung by them and die each year ... and their potent venom has been described as hot metal driving through people's skin. A queen hornet can measure up to 2 inches long -- so they're big.
The good news (we think) is that the entomologists and other experts working on this issue have been setting up homemade hornet traps in hopes of keeping the population at bay, and they've also created a grid of where they think the hornets are.
For those they do catch, the scientists plan to use radio-frequency identification tags on the insects and track where they go with the idea being they'll lead them to the nest(s). Then, they could potentially destroy them and take out entire colonies at a time.
Good luck ... better wear suits made of metal while you're at it 😬