So-called "murder hornets" have captured the spotlight after the giant Asian insect was detected in the northern parts of Washington state, but Louisiana experts say the level of concern here is relatively low. LSU AgCenter entomologist Kristen Healey says the few that have been found are contained in Washington.
"From September to December of 2019 was when all of those collections occurred," said Healey. "There hasn’t been any additional collections anywhere else in the United States outside of that area."
While human deaths have been attributed to the murder hornet, Healey says those are normally linked to an allergic reaction. What concerns them the most is the impact on the honeybee population.
"Thirty wasps can go in and kill 30,000 to 40,000 honeybees in just a matter of hours," said Healey.
Louisiana’s climate would be suitable for Asian giant hornet, but Healey says the hornet’s ability to migrate is limited due to being a social insect in need of a queen to maintain a colony.
"It’s not like if you had a few hornets that were getting out, they couldn’t really establish a colony on its own," Healey explained. "You really need a queen that has been mated in order to disperse and establish colonies."