An invasion of Asian giant hornets became the latest 2020 worry — and internet sensation — as the term “murder hornet” began to trend over the weekend.
The first spotting of the two-inch Asian giant hornet, or vespa mandarinia, was verified in the United States in December, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. The insect does not generally target people or pets, but is a deadly threat to the already at-risk honeybee hives.
Giant hornets of this species apparently enter a “slaughter phase” where they decapitate honeybees and destroy entire hives in the span of a few hours, according to the department.
Although the species was first spotted months ago, the term “murder hornet” circulated on Twitter over the weekend after a New York Times report Saturday on efforts to stop the species from annihilating honeybees.
As the globe reels with the upheaval of normal life during the coronavirus pandemic, the internet latched onto “murder hornets” as yet another strange development of 2020.
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