As the rapid spread of COVID-19 continues across the world, nature decided to throw a new crazy interval into the equation. Reports from Blaine, Washington suggest that an Asian giant hornet—normally found in eastern Asia—is suspected to be the culprit of major bee massacres across the state, as well as some attacks on people.
What researchers dub the "murder hornet," the Asian giant hornet kills up to 50 people every year in Japan. Several beekeepers in Blaine have said their hives were massacred in November and December, as reported by the New York Times, with all of the bees from the nest having their heads ripped off. When beekeeper Conrad Bérubé from Canada was assigned a job to exterminate a hive in Vancouver Island, he was attacked by what was suspected to be an Asian giant hornet and said that after years of getting stung by bees, it was the most painful.
"It was like having red-hot thumbtacks being driven into my flesh," he said of the experience.
These hornets are no joke. The exact locations of their hives have yet to be discovered, but with sightings in both Canada and the U.S., it's a bit unsettling. They earned the nickname "murder hornets" because a series of stings can be fatal, and its group attacks expose victims to toxic venom equal to that of venomous snakes. Traps have been set across Washington and Canada to try and track these hornets, with both wooded regions being optimal habitats for it.
And of course, this was not welcome news to Twitter, with many giving their worried and exhausted reactions to the news. "Murder hornets," really?