They may be tiny compared to humans, but Vespa velutina, otherwise known as Asian hornets, can cause a lot of harm to honeybees as well as humans. That’s why entomologists have been working overtime trying to track these “murder hornets” since they first appeared in the United States last December. It’s been no simple task! Entomologists tied dental floss with tracking devices onto three hornets, which led them to a nest in the state of Washington. The nest contained approximately two hundred hornets and was carefully removed with a vacuum-like contraption by a group of scientists wearing full-body protective equipment. While this is a great start, scientists suspect that there may be more nests in the surrounding area. Why is it so important for scientists to remove these hornets? Asian hornets can kill an entire honeybee colony in a matter of hours—bees that are essential for pollinating crops. Can you imagine what would happen to berries and other fruit-bearing plants without the help of honeybees?
Interesting Fact: The Asian hornet is the largest hornet measuring an average of 1.5 to 2 inches long.