And just when things were going so well.
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Asian giant hornets, known by some researchers as “murder hornets,” have been spotted in the US for the first time ever, the New York Times reported.
The murder hornets, which can grow up to two inches long, didn’t get their name from murdering people, but instead from their brutal decapitations of honeybees.
Scientists in Washington first spotted the hornets back in December, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. The murderous insects were also seen north of the border in British Columbia.
While the hornets usually stick to murdering bees, they can kill up to 50 people a year in Japan, according to the Times. Their stingers are longer than a run-of-the-mill honeybee’s.
“A few hornets can destroy a hive in a matter of hours, according to the WSDA. “The hornets enter a ‘slaughter phase’ where they kill bees by decapitating them. They then defend the hive as their own, taking the brood to feed their own young.”
Multiple beehives in Washington were wiped out by the murder hornets, the Times reported.
With bees already dying at an alarming rate, the Asian giant hornets could put an even deeper sting in the American honey industry. A similar hornet invasion in Europe dropped honey production by more than 60%, Time reported.