Because 2020 continues to be Year of the Assshole, reports over the weekend, mostly stemming from a New York Times piece, warned the United States about a "murder hornet" from Asia reaching American soil. It's referring to the Asian Giant Hornet, and the concern among beekeepers is that it's going to wipe out working honeybees here, starting on the West Coast. The concern for the average layperson is that these fuckers kill people, too.
So with that in mind, here's a quick primer on these hornets by me, Cracked's resident Guy With A Bee Allergy. We'll tackle what these things are, where they're coming from and going, and what we should do about it.
First off, this is the hornet that took second place in Coyote Peterson's quest to get stung by a bunch of bugs and rate the pain, and he considered it to be a "4" (the worst rating) on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index.
Peterson's arm swelled up like steroid-era baseball player on Viagra, and the effects lasted far too long for anyone to be comfortable with. There's also a video of one of these things completely subduing and murdering a mouse in less than a minute (NSFW).
In 2013, murder hornets sent over 200 people in China to the hospital and killed 41 of them. Their stingers are about 6 mm in length, a little less than the fingernail on your pointer finger, and can sting through kevlar.
All this is bad enough, but these hornets from hell can also chase you for hundreds of yards and sting up to 200 times. Chinese officials recommend emergency treatment after 30 stings, at which point you're probably looking at kidney failure.
Now, yes, they've made their way to North America. Nobody's quite sure how, but the best guess is through accidentally getting trapped on a shipping container. What we do know is that while in Asia, these hornets got a taste for killing imported European honeybees. Honeybees are natural competition for the hornet's food sources, and an itty bitty honeybee stands virtually no chance against this monstrosity.
If the hornet, which has been making its way south through Canada and Washington as the weather starts to heat up, starts taking out our pollinating bee populations, we could be in serious trouble.
What can we do? Well, by and large, you can get rid of them the way you might any other nests. Burning the nest seems to work, but that's only if you can find one in the first place. These hornets are bigger, stronger, and faster, and therefore have much bigger flight radii away from their home. Many Japanese beekeepers just keep a bunch of industrial-strength glue traps on hand and hope for the best.
On the plus side, If you do happen to catch one, they can make a "tasty treat." Just use your blood and tears as a dipping sauce.
Top Image: t-mizo/Wiki Commons