"Murder hornets" invade America

Photo: Filippo Turetta (CC BY 4.0)

The New York Times reports on a new pest from abroad, Vespa mandarinia, AKA the murder hornet or the yak-killer.

With queens that can grow to two inches long, Asian giant hornets can use mandibles shaped like spiked shark fins to wipe out a honeybee hive in a matter of hours, decapitating the bees and flying away with the thoraxes to feed their young. For larger targets, the hornet's potent venom and stinger — long enough to puncture a beekeeping suit — make for an excruciating combination that victims have likened to hot metal driving into their skin.

In Japan, the hornets kill up to 50 people a year. Now, for the first time, they have arrived in the United States.

Tracking the 'Murder Hornet': A Deadly Pest Has Reached North America [New York Times]