Florida Department of Agriculture says reports of 'murder hornets' unfounded

Native species often misidentified as Asian giant hornets
Posted at 1:17 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 13:17:25-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — If you recently spotted a large insect flying around, don't worry; it's not a "murder hornet."

The Florida Department of Agriculture said Thursday they have recently received multiple reports of Asian giant hornets, also known as "murder hornets."

However, Commissioner Nikki Fried said her department and the USDA confirmed there is no evidence of this invasive species anywhere in Florida.

"Our partners at the Washington State Department of Agriculture and the USDA are continuing to study and contain the Asian giant hornet to Washington state. We have every reason to believe that these ongoing efforts will keep this invasive pest far away from Florida's residents and 650,000 honeybee colonies," Fried said in a news release.

"Murder Hornet" Guide
The Florida Department of Agriculture released a graphic comparing the size of so-called "murder hornets" to native hornets and wasp species.

The state said the giant hornets are often misidentified because they closely resemble native hornet and wasp species.

The Florida agriculture department released a quick guide to show the difference in size and of the "murder hornet" compared to other native species.

Experts say the Asian giant hornets remain confined to a small part of Washington state after it was first detected in December 2019.

The "murder hornet" hornet nickname comes from its propensity to attack and kill beehives in the late summer and early fall. They rarely attack people or pets unless threatened, but their venom is highly toxic.