In another one of those increasingly-frequent 2020 “oh great, now what do we have to deal with?” moments, we all learned this month that Asian Giant Hornets made landfall in the USA.
Technically known as Vespa mandarinia and now known on social media as “Murder Hornets,” these enormous arthropods seem destined to spell doom to any remaining summer plans for post-lockdown 2020.
I mean, if I knew 1.5 inch long hornets with deadly stingers were going to swarm me at the park, I would probably self-isolate at home until winter!
Except, they’re not here to murder you, despite their Facebook moniker suggesting otherwise. There’s no need to cancel summer.
They didn’t come for us, they came for our honey bees.
They Kill Honey Bees & Eat Their Honey
These things are big. Big critters need a lot of food – especially high energy food – to keep going. The Asian Giant Hornets thrive on tree sap and, when they can find it, raw honey from honey bee hives.
Hornets don’t make their own honey. Thankfully! Can you imagine trying to open up a hive of Murder Hornets to harvest honey comb? They have stingers long enough to penetrate bee keeping suits. No thanks!
But they share one characteristic with the rest of us here at Go Raw Honey – they love to eat real raw honey too! They also seek out the protein from eating other insects. When they find a honey bee hive, they hit pay dirt. Sweet high-energy honey and thousands of bees to provide them with protein too!
One entomologist has said only a couple of dozen Murder Hornets can effectively wipe out tens of thousands of honey bees during an encounter. They kill the honey bees while robbing the hive, and then feast on the honey bee corpses for the protein.
Imagine in only one day having a whole hive devastated by these marauding hornets, with no warning? It’s not good.
The Real Danger Is To The Honey Bee Population
Things have gotten bad enough for US honey bees with the rise of colony collapse disorder. Honey bee populations are declining globally, and have been declining in the USA too in recent years.
And this was all before the massive 1.5 inch long predatory Murder Hornet landed in the Pacific Northwest!
I am not personally too concerned about my summer being ruined by swarms of Murder Hornets. But I am greatly concerned that, if they adapt to conditions in the USA, they could spread beyond Washington state and further threaten our fragile honey bee population.
You shouldn’t fall victim to the fear mongering on Facebook about Murder Hornets being a threat to you. The chances you’ll ever encounter one this year are pretty low unless you live in the Pacific Northwest!
But you should be aware – and make others aware too – that fighting these hornets on behalf of our largely defenseless North American honey bee population is absolutely essential.
While this post today has nothing directly to do with our own raw honey, we do like to help keep our customers informed about relevant issues related to these essential honey workers – the honey bees! No honey bees means no honey! We should do what we can to help protect them before it is too late.