You may have heard about the ‘Murder Hornets’ that were found in the USA.
Recently we were asked if Murder Hornets are in Australia, so we thought we’d put this post out there to inform you of what we found out.
Firstly, what are murder hornets?
‘Murder Hornet’ is the hyped-up name for the Asian Giant Hornets, the largest hornets in the world. This insect is native to East Asia, South Asia, Mainland Southeast Asia and some parts of the Russian Far East.
The Asian Giant Hornet has a wingspan of around 75mm, a body length of 45mm and a scarily long stinger of 6mm long. That’s about 4 times the length of a honeybee stinger!
Stings from the Murder Hornet can be deadly for humans. Each year multiple people die from Murder Hornet stings, however, deaths normally involve the victim having suffered multiple stings which often lead to anaphylaxis and cardiac arrest.
Are there murder hornets in Australia?
No, murder hornets are not in Australia yet. Due to strong border controls and strict adherence to biosecurity and quarantine laws, Australia has been able to prevent the introduction of murder hornets to its shores.
Phew, right?! Personally we sure are glad that these invasive and frankly scary looking creatures are not yet in Australia.
What would happen if murder hornets made it to Australia?
The effect that these insects may have on Australian agriculture would be devastating. After all, the main reason that they are known as Murder Hornets is due to the ferocious manner in which they can destroy entire honeybee colonies.
A single Murder Hornet can kill about 40 honeybees per minute, with the bees being effectively defenceless against the much larger and heavily armoured hornet. A pack of Murder Hornets just 50 strong, could destroy entire honeybee colony of tens of thousands of bees in just a few hours.
No doubt many honeybee colonies would be wiped out if Murder Hornets made it to mainland Australia. The impact that this would have on both the honey industry and wider agriculture that relies on bees for pollination, would be catastrophic.
Furthermore, many native insects such as native bees would also fall victim to these savage hornets, possibly causing further extinction of our precious and unique insect life.
How can we prevent Murder Hornets from getting to Australia?
We can prevent Murder Hornets from ever making it to Australia by remaining vigilant and adhering to our quarantine laws.
The only way that these hornets can make it to Australia is either by someone intentionally bringing them in or by someone being complacent when travelling to Australia or shipping goods here.
Always ensure that you follow the quarantine guidelines set out by the Australian Government, and report any insects that you come that seem suspicious or unusual. If you do happen to be a beekeeper or close observer of insects, report any abnormal behaviours or insect deaths that you notice so that they can be investigated.
With your assistance, we can preserve our excellent biosecurity status and prevent the terrible consequences that Murder Hornets would have if introduced into Australia.