Professionals say giant hornet poses little threat to South Dakota
SOUTH DAKOTA, U.S. – If you have social media, you might have seen a post or article about giant “murder” hornets making their debut in North America.
The truth of the matter is they aren’t actually called “murder hornets” and local professionals don’t believe they pose a threat here in South Dakota.
Many are calling this huge hornet a murder hornet, but a local beekeeper says he’s never heard that term.
“It’s kind of sensationalizing it more than it should. I mean if you’re a bee than it would be a murder hornet but for humans, I wouldn’t even call it that,” says beekeeper, Tom Repas.
Although the sting of an Asian Giant Hornet can pack a punch, they typically aren’t dangerous to humans, unless allergic.
For bees these hornets are a dangerous predator.
“The hornets, they can literally fly up to the hive and hover there and grab the bee, bite the head off and drop to the ground and do that over and over. They recorded them killing as much as 40 bees per minute,” says Repas.
Within a few hours an entire hive, which typically contains about 50,000 bees, can be destroyed.
Being that this particular hornet comes from Asia, Asian honeybees have co-adapted and are able to defend themselves.
“What they do is they then form a ball of honeybee bodies around the wasp and then they generate heat and they basically cook the wasp,” say Dr. Holly Downing, who studied entomology.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the case here in North America.
Most of our bees are derived from Europe and European honeybee do not have that same ability to defend themselves
Although the Asian Giant Hornet can pose a threat to bees, it thrives in a very specific environment
Professionals do not believe they pose a threat to South Dakota.
“Wouldn’t know if they can even survive here. They really prefer low forest. Low mountains and forest and they avoid high altitude and plains and grasslands in their native habitat, so it’d be very questionable,” says Repas.
Dr. Downing, “these wasps are so large that it would be fairly easy to trace these wasps back to their nests and exterminate the nest.”