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Experts: “Murder Hornets” may never come to Iowa, still be vigilant

(KWWL) -- News of Asian Giant Hornets being found in the US has spread much further across the country than the insect has.

The Iowa State University Outreach and Extension office says Iowans should keep an eye out for new types of hornets but there's no evidence that they could even survive in Iowa.

The insect has only been found in a couple of instances in Washington state. The Asian Giant Hornet, Vespa mandarinia, checks in at more than two inches, which makes it the world’s largest. It carries a painful sting and could have a serious detrimental impact on honey bee populations.

If a clear picture can be safely taken, send the image to insects@iastate.edu. Use extreme caution; photograph a suspect that is already dead or can be safely killed with spray or swatter. If a picture is not available carefully record detailed observations such as size, shape and colors. 

Donald Lewis, extension entomologist at Iowa State University, urges Iowans to watch for this and other invasive species and to report insects that seem out of the ordinary. 

“The discovery of AGH in Washington and British Columbia late in 2019 is another concern but not a reason to panic,” Lewis said.

The offices says a bigger concern for honey bees is the destruction of pollinator habitats.

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Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter

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