Since the Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) was first detected in Washington state in December of 2019, it has been hard to miss the eye-catching headlines about this species.
With so much news out there, we want to make it easy for you and break down the facts about this much-buzzed-about species:
- In North America, the Asian giant hornet (AGH) has only been found in a small area in Washington state and British Columbia. No AGH have been found anywhere else on our continent, including the east coast.
- NY’s most common lookalike is the European hornet (Vespa crabro), and it’s active now. AGH are 1-2 inches in length and European hornets are 0.5-1.5 inches in length.
- AGH do not attack humans unless you handle one, you are within 10 feet of a nest, or you are approaching a beehive that they are attacking.
- Their sting hurts a bit more that other hornets because they are bigger. Human deaths caused by AGH stings are extremely rare – about 12 per year worldwide (compared to about 60 deaths in just the U.S. each year from bee and hornet stings).
- AGH do attack and destroy honeybee hives.
NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets (AGM) has more information available on their website. If you think you have found an Asian giant hornet in NY, review the identification materials on the AGM website. If you still have suspicions after review, you can email photos and location information to AGM at email@example.com.
Photo of Asian giant hornet courtesy Washington State Department of Agriculture.