‘Murder hornets’

With the pandemic moving on through the U.S. it may seem like we are at the end of times especially when we hear that now we have to think about “Killer Hornets” or “Murder Hornets.”

While those who are susceptible to bee stings and so forth are always concerned about any new threat that insects may pose to their health, these hornets may not be as big of a threat to Minnesotans any time soon. Yes, once again, we can thank good old Mother Nature and our darn cold winters for protecting us from an insect that probably won’t be able to survive through a good old fashioned Minnesota winter.

The reason why these insects are given such terrible nicknames is because they primarily hunt honey bees. When they find a colony of honey bees, it doesn’t take much time and the colony will be totally wiped out. While this is good for people, it is not so good for our already decimated honey bee population.

The hornets were found in British Columbia where there were two nests found and which both nests were destroyed upon authorities being alerted to their whereabouts. It is native to Asia and without really knowing for sure how it got here, we can guess that they came over on ships that were holding cargo. The hornets that were found in Washington (State) probably originated from the colonies in British Columbia.

Once again, just like we are asked to do with Emerald Ash Borer, if you happen to think you see the hornet call the Arrest the Pest Hotline at MDA at: arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us or 1-888-545-6684.

According to the U of M Extension, the hornet “is large, about 1 ½ to 2 inches in length. It has a large orange or yellow head with conspicuous black eyes. It has a dark colored thorax (the middle section of the insect), a black and yellow striped abdomen, and a smooth body with very little hair. There are some insects in Minnesota that may be confused with this invasive hornet.”

There are many different kinds of wasps and hornets out there that can be look-alikes. It could very well be that something you see is not one of these larger hornets. Remember to always check in on a reliable website such as the U of M Extension for further help.

If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener, please go to the following website for more information, https://extension.umn.edu/master-gardener/about-master-gardener. For more information on gardening, please email me at s.dejaeghere@me.com


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