The murder hornet, or Asian giant hornet, is a common pest in parts of Asia. The insects are large and unique, with distinctive orange heads and orange and black striped bodies. Murder hornets don’t attack humans and are only aggressive to defend their nest in most cases.
Murder hornets have longer stingers than honeybees, and their stingers don’t break off when they sting. Because hornet stings can puncture thick clothing, you should avoid hornets and their nests. But do you need to worry about murder hornets in Indiana?
Although these particular hornets are alarmingly large and intimidating, a sting isn’t deadly, and you won’t find them in Indiana.
Murder hornets feed on various insects, capturing dead prey and returning to the hive to feed their young. One major issue with them in the U.S. is their ability to destroy honeybee hives, disrupting our fragile ecosystem.
Some honeybees have learned to protect their hives from murder hornets in a fascinating way. When the hornet enters the beehive, the protector bees surround the much larger enemy and begin quickly vibrating their wings in unison. The honeybees generate enough body heat this way to kill the invader with a rising temperature and an increase in the carbon dioxide that also takes place.
All murder hornet nests begin in the springtime with a queen who builds the honeycomb cells using wood fibers, where she eventually lays eggs. About 40 days after that, they hatch as adults responsible for foraging and expanding the nest.
The queen mates at the end of fall and then spends the winter in the ground, remaining dormant until the next mating season when she begins a new colony.
How Did Murder Hornets End Up in America?
A single, fertile hornet likely made its way to Canada via shipping cargo as hitchhiking pests.
It’s easy for invasive species to make it across the world and then across North America. Over 19,000 shipping containers arrive in U.S. ports every day, and inspectors can only search shipping containers at random. According to one estimate, only 2% of shipments are searched for evidence of harmful organisms such as plant pests. Many invasive species are caught, but some are getting through.
Fortunately, it’s unlikely that an entire colony made its way to us because they’re so big. Someone would have noticed if a nest was disturbed. But they discovered two of these hornets in Washington in 2019. One flew away, and one died quickly. Scientists have been diligently tracking them since their arrival.
Are Murder Hornets in Indiana?
Good news! Murder hornets are not in Indiana, and it’s unlikely our beautiful state will be home to these pests anytime soon.
They prefer making homes out of large trees or in dead tree trunks. They can’t tolerate extreme heat or cold, making Indiana an unlikely place to find murder hornets. Active colonies are more likely to be found in the Pacific Northwest.
The key to preventing murder hornets from moving to Indiana is simply surveillance. We encourage you to call the Bug Out Pest Control professionals at 317-777-5005 if you think you have any kind of hornets or other pests in your yard.
Are you on Facebook? We are, too. Let’s be friends!