How big is a murder hornet? Measuring an invasive species reportedly seen in Blaine, Washington

Staff Writer

Earlier this week, reports surfaced in the New York Times of Washington State beekeeper Ted McFall having seen a pile of thousands of decapitated bees—something commonly done by Asian giant hornets, also referred to as 'Murder hornets'. While there was no proof of the insect that had not yet been invasive to the United States, later that fall the the first sighting of two Asian giant hornets came a few miles away from his Blaine property in the Northwestern corner of the state.

Scientists are rushing to hunt for the hornets and eliminate them from the state, before they take hold and further dwindle to bee populations. The Asian giant hornets are known for their quarter-inch stinger with poison that "feels like hot metal being injected into your skin." In Japan they kill up to 50 people a year and are the biggest wasp species in the world at an average size of 45 millimeters—twice the size of a paper wasp and three times the size of a honeybee.