Asian Hornet or plain old yellow jacket? Can you tell the difference? Learn here I put this video together having received several phone calls from people who thought they had encountered an Asian hornet and were quite distressed as a result. Firstly, they are true hornets, and the Asian Hornet is the largest of all hornets.
They got the name “murder hornet” due to a translation mix up a few years ago and the name stuck. Although they look like something out of a horror movie, they are not overly aggressive in the open to humans. Yes, the sting is potent and can be extremely dangerous to those who have allergies and such. But what you have to remember is that they are at their most fearsome to us when defending their home. (they are predators and we are not on their list) The problem is that in most cases, they nest underground and the most common attack is when we step on their nest or approach closely to it an disturb them.
However, they are an invasive species and they can decimate western honey bee colonies. Whereas, in Japan, for the most part the native bees have evolved to defend and resist them . (as with varroa) Recently in the northern states (USA), there was a confirmed sighting and the hornets wiped out an entire colony of honey bees. So we have to be vigilant and careful.
The sightings that I have been called about were either for large wasps (it is that time of year) and also the paper wasp, which in our area is red, has similar wing tips, but its smaller and the abdomen and thorax are totally different. But to anyone who has only ever seen the news , they will look similar when the fear factor pops into their heads and its perfectly understandable for anyone to fear something when the word “murder” is used in any context and it may just be a fleeting glance.
It is always better to be safe and 10 phone calls for what might be a large wasp or Bumblebee is good news since one day I know we will get a call and it will be the dreaded hornet and we will have to start adding additional protection to our hives and adapting to what will yet be another new normal. Never dismiss a potential sighting.
If you think you have seen an Asian hornet, report it to your local authorities since the Asian hornets are gaining a foothold in Europe and there have been confirmed sighting in some northern states in the USA. Remember, if you are not sure what it is, don’t go near it. Also, don’t go swatting something that your not sure about since your either killing a friendly pollinator or upsetting something that can hurt you if provoked.