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'Murder hornets' unlikely to pose a problem in Colorado

Cold weather would likely kill Asian giant hornets
"Murder hornets" are now in United States
Posted at 3:24 PM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 17:59:45-04

So-called "murder hornets" -- officially known as the Asian giant hornet -- have made headlines in recent days after they were seen in Washington State.

But local insect experts said they're not likely to cause much of a factor in Colorado because of the state's weather.

Tally Kerr from Buckley's Homestead Supply said only two nests belonging to the invasive species have been identified in the Pacific Northwest. She said none have been seen in Colorado, and that our cold weather would kill them.

She also said she's concerned panic over an unknown species could harm helpful pollinators, especially during "swarm season" when some colonies might be looking for a new home.

"Swarm seasons has now kind of collided with the information on this hornet and so I hope people know, again educating yourself and they can know the difference is a honeybee swarm the bees are just looking for a new place to live this isn't a cluster of hornets," Kerr said.

This could especially be a problem as people spending more time at home are becoming more interested in home gardening.

Because about 90% of stings come from wasps and hornets many people look for ways to eliminate them. But those methods often also kill honeybees and bumblebees, which are beneficial to home gardens.

Kerr said a key factor is knowing the difference between honeybees and hornets and wasps.

"Educated ourselves about it then we're much more familiar with what they look like so that we're not intentionally killing beneficial pollinators," Kerr said.