This really stings.
Fears of the Asian “murder hornet” could spark the slaughter of millions of innocent bees and wasps, according to a report.
Experts told The Los Angeles Times that the national panic over the giant stinger — which recently appeared for the first time in the US in Washington state — may cause “needless” damage to essential bee populations.
“Millions and millions of innocent native insects are going to die as a result of this,” warned Dr. Doug Yanega, a professor of entomology at the University of California, Riverside.
“Folks in China, Korea and Japan have lived side by side with these hornets for hundreds of years, and it has not caused the collapse of human society there,” Yanega added. “My colleagues in Japan, China and Korea are just rolling their eyes in disbelief at what kind of snowflakes we are.”
The wasps have been known to kill humans through repeated stings or in cases of anaphylactic shock; in Japan, up to 50 people a year die this way, according to reports.
But the giant hornets’ main target is honey bees, entomologists say.
Beekeepers in Kentucky and Tennessee have announced plans to lay traps to protect their hives from the deadly insect.
And freaked-out folks across the country have also started putting out traps so authorities can find and destroy any nests of murder hornets before they can grow.
But the bait in the traps — a mixture of orange juice and rice cooking wine — will entice all kinds of native critters, and that’s all people have been catching so far, Yanega said.
That’s worrisome because populations of beneficial bugs like bees are already threatened in the US. Bees are responsible for pollinating about 75 percent of the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the country, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
“I don’t want to downplay this — they are logistically dangerous insects,” Yanega said of the murder hornets. But, he added, “having people in Tennessee worry about this is just ridiculous.”
“The only people who should be bothering experts with concerns about wasp IDs are living in the northwest quadrant of Washington (state). And really, right now, nobody else in the country should even be thinking about this stuff.”