Nests of Asian giant hornets, otherwise known as “murder hornets”, have made their way to North America for the first time. This invasive species is a significant threat to colonies of pollinators including honeybees. Upon entering a honeybee colony, a hornet begins a “slaughter phase” in which it kills bee after bee. A single hornet can destroy an entire bee colony in just a few hours.
The sudden arrival of murder hornets in Canada and the US is one of the latest examples of climate chaos. It also goes to show how closely planetary health is intertwined with human health. If the species continues to emerge in the continent in the spring, it will add a further strain on the already declining population of honeybees – currently responsible for 30% of all food taken in the US.