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Will murder hornets make their way to Texas? A Houston entomologist has the answer.

In this Dec. 30, 2019, photo provided by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, a dead Asian giant hornet is photographed in a lab in Olympia, Wash. The world's largest hornet, a 2-inch long killer with an appetite for honey bees, has been found in Washington state and entomologists are making plans to wipe it out. Dubbed the "Murder Hornet" by some, the Asian giant hornet has a sting that could be fatal to some humans. (Quinlyn Baine/Washington State Department of Agriculture via AP)
In this Dec. 30, 2019, photo provided by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, a dead Asian giant hornet is photographed in a lab in Olympia, Wash. The world's largest hornet, a 2-inch long killer with an appetite for honey bees, has been found in Washington state and entomologists are making plans to wipe it out. Dubbed the "Murder Hornet" by some, the Asian giant hornet has a sting that could be fatal to some humans. (Quinlyn Baine/Washington State Department of Agriculture via AP) (Washington State Department of Agriculture via AP)

HOUSTON – The insect world is about to encounter another problem, as“murder hornets” made their way to the U.S. from Asia.

Better known as “giant Asian hornets,” they are known to destroy bee hives and retrieve their honey. However, humans are highly concerned by their large stingers.

“A lot of the fear surrounding this species is their large venom load,” said Lauren Davidson, entomologist at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, “though it is estimated they kill around 50 people a year in Asia, that number is very comparable to bee sting deaths in the States.”

The hornets typically avoid humans, but can attack when threatened. Multiple stings can kill humans, even if they are not allergic.

As the hornets migrated to Washington State last week, Texans may be wondering if they will be making their way over to the Lone Star State. Davidson’s answer? It is “unlikely."

“Despite a handful of unconfirmed sightings, there has been no evidence of this species being in the northwest since their initial discovery of November of last year," she said, “the possibility of their arrival is a serious matter, but mainly invasive species can threaten local ecosystem."

While we will not see “murder hornets” anytime soon, Davidson advises people to stay alert.

“If you see any insect that you do not know, you should not approach them,” said Davidson, “like most social insects, these hornets are not likely to sting unless they are protecting their hive or queen.”

Davidson says Texans should report any suspected invasive species to their local Department of Agriculture.


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