No confirmed NY sightings of ‘murder hornet,’ likely giant European hornet says Department of Agriculture

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Fortunately, you probably haven’t seen the Asian giant hornet, or the “murder hornet,” if you live in New York state.

Officials from the New York State Department of Agriculture haven’t confirmed a single sighting.

This is from their website:

Vespa mandarinia, or Asian Giant Hornet (AGH), is an invasive pest from the tropical and temperate forests of eastern Asia. In the United States, it was first detected in Washington State in December 2019. AGH is not known to exist anywhere in the United States except for the far northwest area of Washington State. No sightings of AGH have been confirmed in New York State.

This introduced pest is primarily a threat to European Honey Bees (Apis mellifera). However, it is a stinging insect and could potentially be a human health concern. AGH are generally not aggressive to humans unless provoked. They will defend a nest or foraging site. Only the female hornets are capable of stinging. 

News 8 has forwarded a handful of photos from viewers to the officials at the Department of agriculture as well as the Department of Environmental Conservation, and their experts have determined that all of the sightings were European giant hornets.

Those departments recommend that if anyone finds a large hornet they might think is the AGH to email them to plants@agriculture.ny.gov and foresthealth@dec.ny.gov. A spokesperson from the DEC say that their experts can identify most of the hornets from pictures.

The European giant hornet is another large species of hornets that have been in the US for a while now. They tend to be less aggressive than the AGH, and don’t pose the same threat to honey bees.

A spokesperson for the DEC also added that “If an Asian Giant Hornet were found in New York, DEC’s Forest Health Section would work closely with the Department of Agriculture and Markets to address it.”

For comparison, the “AGH”:

The Asian giant hornet, courtesy: Allen Smith-Pardo

And the European giant hornet:

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