Prior to today, if you were to have asked me what a murder hornet was, I would have probably suggested that it was the title of some kind of Sharknado spinoff movie about massive hornets wreaking havoc across the globe and attempting to decimate entire populations. That, or I would have just guessed you were trying to strike up a conversation about one of my favorite Kirsten Dunst films, Jumanji, and a particularly harrowing scene therein.
Unfortunately, it appears that the above guess not involving Kirsten Dunst is the one that is correct, at least partially. While murder hornet is not the title of a campy sci-fi flick about giant hornets wreaking havoc across the globe, it is the colloquial name given to Asian giant hornets, which have made their way into North America for the first time and are, in fact, wreaking havoc.
A story in The New York Times reports that a beekeeper in Washington state woke up last November to find “a pile of dead members of the colony in front of a hive and more carnage inside — thousands and thousands of bees with their heads torn from their bodies and no sign of a culprit.” The culprit, they would soon come to believe, was the murder hornet, after two were discovered for the first time in the U.S. not far from the scene of the crime.
To be honest, murder hornets sound metal as fuck and are almost kind of inspiring in their take-no-prisoners approach to beehive domination. However, what is even more metal, is how bees in Japan have joined forces to kick murder hornet ass when they are under attack.
In a follow-up story, The Times reports that when under attack from murder hornets, honeybees in Japan will swarm the hornet and use the friction created by hundreds of their tiny little bodies to heat up the hornet at the core of the giant bee-ball they form to over 115 degrees, a temperature the bees can survive, but the hornets cannot. It kind of reminds me of the final battle scene from 2005's Fantastic Four, you know, without Jessica Alba and Chris Evans.
Honestly, I wish the murder hornets would pick literally any other target than the bees which, famously, haven’t been doing that great lately. To borrow a phrase from Jezebel writer Joan Summers, borrowing a phrase from Instagram commenter Demi Lovato, STAY AWAY FROM HER! GET A JOB!
While I’d normally be totally down to celebrate the rise of an insect overlord that seems capable of overthrowing our human overlords (the murder wasps are responsible for at least fifty deaths a year in Japan), I really do draw the line at the bees.