Murder Hornet Hunters Are Apparently Rushing To Find Them Before ‘Slaughter’ Season

There’s plenty of news out there these days, but murder hornets are doing their best to stay atop the list of terrifying things that can kill you. The invasive species, which originate in Asia, were spotted in the Western part of the United States earlier this year, and officials now say they’re still here.

According to a story in The New York Times, “slaughter season” is upon us, and people are ready to start chasing down giant hornets. The story details one such hunter, Philip Bovenkamp, who discovered a hornet on his property and tried to do his patriotic duty and kill it.

In Washington State, the search for the colony near Mr. Bovenkamp’s property, which is near the Canadian border and about 30 miles south of Vancouver, has taken on particular urgency because the hornets are about to enter their “slaughter phase,” Mr. Spichiger said. That’s when they attack beehives in force, removing and decapitating every bee inside and then harvesting the brood and pupae for food.

If that sounds terrifying, well, try killing one as a human being. The toxins in what are colloquially called “murder hornets” can kill humans, and all Bovenkamp had on him was a can of wasp spray.

“I was a little weak in the knees” after seeing the hornet up close in the shop, he said. “My heart was beating fast.”

After Mr. Bovenkamp reported the hornet to the state Agriculture Department, Chris Looney, a state entomologist who went to the property to investigate, managed to catch an Asian giant hornet in a net — the first one caught alive in the United States, according to the department.

The plan, apparently, is to kill these hornets but also capture and track them back to their nest before the “slaughter phase” can begin in earnest. We’re all counting on you, Washington. This year has been tough enough.

[via NY Times]