Nature is Metal is a relatively new Twitter account, joining the platform in October 2019. They say they offer the “darker side of nature” and offer a disclaimer in their bio, which reads: “WARNING: Contains graphic content involving wild animals killing, eating, and fighting for dominance.”
“Praying Mantis” became one of the top-trending topics on May 7 as people discussed the graphic video.
Darren Mays, an officer with the New York Police Department’s Beekeepers Unit, didn’t confirm if the video was real or fake but said he keeps praying mantises in his own backyard. “I order Praying Mantis eggs every year to keep in my yard to help fend off other flying insects,” he told Heavy in an exclusive statement. “They’re great to have around.”
The appearance of “murder hornets” — technically the Asian giant hornet or Vespa mandarinia — was confirmed by the Associated Press in early May. “They’re like something out of a monster cartoon with this huge yellow-orange face,” Susan Cobey, a bee breeder at Washington State University, told the AP.
Todd Murray, a WSU Extension entomologist and invasive species specialist, told the AP the Asian giant hornets could be a threat to honey bees, adding that the hornet is “shockingly large.”
In an interview with Heavy, Cobey emphasized the importance of calling the large hornets by their proper name, the Asian giant hornet. “Everything has its place in ecology,” she said, noting the reputation the Africanized honey bee or orcas sustained after “killer” was put in front of their names.
It’s Too Early to Tell If Americans Should Be Concerned About Asian Giant Hornets
Cobey said it was too early to tell if U.S. citizens should be concerned about the Asian giant hornet. “We’re in the early stages and just putting out traps and try to detect it,” she said. “There’s a huge media blitz and a lot of concern to the point where home owners are killing honey bees.”
The bee breeder described how to detect the Asian giant hornet, saying it could be up to two inches in length. “It’s pretty obvious. It’s got a yellow face,” she said.
The Asian giant hornet come out in two stages. In the springtime the females come out and eat carbohydrates and sap so they aren’t too noticeable. But when the forgers come out in the late summer and early fall looking for protein, that’s when they’re looking for the honeybee hives.
“The whole bee industry is on alert looking for these things,” she said about discovering more Asian giant hornets.
If the Asian giant hornets are established in the U.S. it could be a “huge concern,” Cobey said. “Our European honey bees don’t have resistance mechanisms like the Asian honey bee does,” she added.
While Americans might have started to hear about the murder hornets for the first time in May, they were originally seen in Washington State in December 2019 near the Canadian border by the Washington Department of Agriculture, the AP wrote.
Are Murder Hornets Dangerous?
Giant hornets are native to Asia, where they kill up to 50 people per year in Japan alone. Another viral video, which was shared by TMZ, showed a murder hornet killing a mouse.
They can sting through beekeeper suits, produce nearly seven times more venom than a honey bee and sting more than once, the AP wrote, citing the report from Washington Department of Agriculture. To battle the Asian giant hornet, the WSDA is ordering special suits from China.
The goal is to get rid of the murder hornets in the U.S. as fast as possible. “It’s a health hazard, and more importantly, a significant predator of honey bees,” Murray told the AP.
“We need to teach people how to recognize and identify this hornet while populations are small so that we can eradicate it while we still have a chance,” he added.
What’s It Like to Be Stung By a Murder Hornet?
YouTube personality Coyote Peterson filmed an 11-minute video where he showed himself getting stung by an Asian giant hornet. He went to Japan to film the episode, and 12 hours after the sting he said his arm looked like a “fully pumped hot dog.” He added: “I think if you were to stick me with a fork right now my arm would explode.”
As noted by CBS News, researchers confirmed a sting from an Asian giant hornet is filled with neurotoxins and painful. Even if someone is not allergic, multiple stings could lead to death.
“I don’t recommend it guys,” Peterson said in his video. “It has been an excruciating 12 hours.”
The video, which was originally uploaded in November 2018, now has more than 8 million views.