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The 'Murder Hornet' has arrived in the United States, experts say

The fearsome insects can destroy entire beehives in a matter of hours.

Updated: May 2, 2020 - 8:10pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Entomologists are warning that the arrival of a new species of hornet in the United States could pose a serious threat to beehive colonies and to whoever is unlucky enough to be stung by them. 

The Asian giant hornet, colloquially referred to as the "Murder Hornet," is known by insect experts for its aggressive personality, its famously painful sting, and its ability, in small groups, to obliterate entire colonies of tens of thousands of bees in a matter of hours. 

The New York Times reports that entomologists have discovered the hornets in several locations throughout the United States, beginning last fall in the northeastern part of Washington state. There is significant concern that the insects, if left unchecked, could establish themselves in the U.S., leading to a major threat to the domestic apiary industry as well as wild beehives.

Researchers are attempting to track the hornets to their nests using thermal imagery and other technologies. Multiple unconnected nests have been discovered in Washington. The insects have been discovered in several locations in British Columbia, as well, leading to a desperate scramble to find and exterminate the invaders' nests. 

Enough stings from the hornets over a short-enough period of time can be fatal.