We’re gonna need a bigger zapper to exterminate these mothers
A giant killer hornet from Asia that devours bees and dissolves human flesh with its sting has touched down in Washington State. This marks the first time the insect invader has been found in the region, according to a pest alert issued by the Washington State Department Of Agriculture last week.
The nearly 2-inch-long flying terror was spotted on Dec. 8 by a resident of Blaine, Washington, who says they saw the insect buzzing around a hummingbird-feeder, WSDA reports. Entomologists later found the Calico-colored specimen dead on the property, which they confirmed was an Asian Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia) — the largest of its kind.
It’s an unusual find. Not only does the behemoth bug hail from Asia, but it usually remains inactive during the winter months. The hornet likely flew down from Canada, where the insects are a scourge, department spokesman Chris McGann told CNN.
The entomological interloper could decimate local beehives. Just one hornet can kill 40 bees in under a minute — a talent most famously showcased in a terrifying 2012 video of 30 hornets massacring 30,000 bees in Japan. And unlike native Japanese bee populations (which have an ingenious way of warding off hornet attacks), the US’ European bees have no natural defenses against the hornets.
News of the creepy crawly’s encroachment unsurprisingly set the internet abuzz, spawning a flurry of flamethrower memes and replies of “yikes” and “little hornets are bad enough.” “If you live where you can shoot, a shotgun works for removing single individuals from the air,” said one social media survivalist.
The hornets aren’t typically aggressive toward humans, according to the WSDA advisory. Nonetheless, the Asian hornet’s sting can damage human tissue and feels “like a hot nail being driven into my leg,” one Tokyo entomologist told Smithsonian Magazine. And in 2013, swarms of giant hornets killed 19 people in three months in China.
If stung, the pest report advises washing the site with soap and water, applying ice and using antihistamine cream. However, victims should dial 911 if experiencing multiple stings or a severe allergic reaction. Residents can also reduce the chances of getting stung by refraining from swatting at the giant hornets and properly disposing of food waste.
WSDA urges Washington residents to report hornet sightings to its Pest Program, preferably with photos attached.
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