The Asian giant hornet came to light in 2019 when it was discovered at several locations across the Washington-British Columbia border, according to Andony Melathopoulos, assistant professor in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Extension pollinator health specialist. Most likely, the hornet disembarked off a freightliner from its native range in Japan, Taiwan and Korea, he said.
The more immediate problem is the hornet’s preference for honeybees, which fuel $20 billion of the U.S. crop production annually, according to the American Beekeeping Federation. Asian giant hornets can decimate a honeybee colony in two hours.
The hornet sits outside the nest, waits for a bee to come out and decapitates it. In its native range, honeybees evolved along with the hornets and learned to fight them by luring them into the nest, surrounding them and literally cooking them to death. In the United States, bees have no defense, Melathopoulos said.