There are no Asian giant “murder” hornets in Massachusetts

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – 22News has received a few reports of murder hornet sightings here in Massachusetts. But this is not the case.

Murder hornets made headlines back in May after being identified in Washington state. Officially named the Asian giant hornet, they gained attention due to their vicious nature that could lead to declining bee populations in the United States if they become established here. 

The Asian giant hornet is around 1.5 to 2 inches long, with spiked mandibles, or moving appendages near the mouth, that can decapitate bees in seconds. They have a large orange/yellow head with large eyes, and a black and yellow striped midsection. They are the largest hornet in the world. They could potentially be dangerous to humans, but that would take multiple stings — and they don’t typically go after people. However, they are not here in Massachusetts. 

They have only been officially confirmed in the state of Washington, according to the Center for Environmental and Research Information Systems

Natasha Wright, an entomologist with Braman Termite and Pest Elimination Specialists, told 22News this wasp you may have been seeing, pictured below, is actually a cicada killer, “Solitary wasps that prey on cicadas. They make burrows in the ground… [and are] not aggressive.” 

Photo of cicada killer, not a murder hornet, from a 22News viewer.

Another wasp that looks similar to the murder hornet is the European hornet, which, according to Mass Audubon, is large up to an inch and a half long with brown and yellow markings.

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