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'Murder hornets' are showing up in the U.S.

So far, they've been limited to the Pacific Northwest, and are primarily a threat to the honeybee population.

HOUSTON — It's got a pretty terrifying name, and apparently now the 'murder hornet' has made its way to the U.S.

More commonly known as the Asian giant hornet, or Vespa Mandarinia, it's a roughly 2-inch-long hornet with a yellow-orange head. 

According to the New York Times, it's been known to kill up to 50 people per year in Japan and can be devastating to the bee population.  

There's no need to worry here in Texas. USA Today reports they've only been spotted in the Pacific Northwest. And while experts have been tracking the hornets in the U.S. for months, the New York Times article got the name 'murder hornets' trending on Saturday.

Here's more about the Asian giant hornet from the Washington State Department of Agriculture

We've had lots of questions about how Asian giant hornets compare in size to other similar-looking insects. Check out our new to-scale size comparison to see! You can download a pdf of this image...

While on very rare occasions they can be deadly to humans -- primarily because of allergic reactions -- their biggest threat is to the honeybee population.

Asian Giant Hornets attack beehives for protein. Their active season starts in April and runs through early summer/early fall when they become most destructive to honey bee populations.  

Experts tell anyone that sees the hornets to leave them alone and call authorities. Even beekeeping suits, they say, are not adequate to protect against the hornet's sting.

“Don’t try to take them out yourself if you see them,” Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologist Chris Looney said in a press release in April. “If you get into them, run away, then call us! It is really important for us to know of every sighting, if we’re going to have any hope of eradication.”

FAQs about Asian giant hornets

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