If there wasn't enough to be anxious about right now, you can add "murder hornets" to the list.
What does the Asian giant hornet look like?
Despite a few rumors circulating on social media over the last couple of days, Indiana's Department of Natural Resources says there have not been any confirmed sightings of the Asian giant hornet, better known as the 'Murder Hornet, ' in the state. "Taken together, these sightings raise the possibility that the hornet may be becoming established in the Pacific Northwest". Males can not sting, and females usually will sting only if they are grabbed in bare hands or stepped on with a bare foot.
The hornet has a 6mm stinger paired with giant mandibles on its head.
Researchers believe the collapse of bee colonies, also thought to be caused by pesticides or climate change, among other factors, could threaten food production, with not enough bees available to pollinate plants. One beekeeper and entomologist who was assigned to exterminate a known hornet hive on Vancouver Island was attacked during his mission, The New York Times reported. "It was like having red-hot thumbtacks being driven into my flesh", he said. "And multiple stings could literally be fatal".
Their venomous sting can kill humans if they are stung multiple times.
The hornets are estimated to kill 50 people a year in Japan alone.
Washington state agricultural officials are asking beekeepers and residents to report any sightings of the giant hornets, however they are warning people not to get too close. It normally lives in the forests and low mountains of eastern and southeast Asia.
They're sometimes transported in worldwide cargo - in some cases deliberately, said Seth Truscott with WSU's college of agricultural, human and natural resource sciences. While the hornets do not generally target people or pets, they can attack when threatened.
"We've only had a couple locations in Canada and one location in Washington State where we've found the hornets late past year in 2019", Todd Murray, Director of Washington State University's (WSU) Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension Program Unit, told Salon over email.