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Asian Giant Hornet, Vespa mandarinia

I am getting some calls from people asking about the Asian Giant Hornet or the “murder hornet”. Vespa mandarinia, is native to Japan and can be found in many other countries throughout Asia. The first colony that was discovered outside of Asia was found in British Columbia, Canada in September 2019. Its first known appearance in the U.S. was in fall of 2019 in Blaine, Washington. To date, this hornet has not been found in the U.S. outside of its very limited distribution in Washington State.

Vespa mandarinia female adult length. Photograph by Allan Smith-Pardo, Invasive Hornets, USDA APHIS PPQ.

This hornet is large and robust and hold the record to be the world’s largest hornet with 1.5-2 inches in length. It has several distinctive features that distinguish them from other similar species like a large orange/yellow head with prominent eyes, black and yellow striped abdomen, and typically nests in the ground. These hornets have many prey items, including honeybees. They poses a potential threat to honey bee colonies by feeding on adult and immature honeybees as a protein source. They hunt adult honeybees at the hive entrance. They transport dead bees back to their nest where they feed them to their developing offspring. Many times, beekeepers will see the aftermath of the attack, and not the hornet itself.

Vespa mandarinia anterior view of head. Photograph by Allan Smith-Pardo , Invasive Hornets, USDA APHIS PPQ.

Vespa mandarinia Smith processing its honey bee prey capture. Photograph by Scott Camazine.

Blog based on Featured Creatures http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/MISC/BEES/Vespa_mandarinia.html

and Asian Giant Hornet, Vespa mandarinia FAQ by Amy Vu and Jamie Ellis