Invading murder hornets could be stopped with ‘sex spray’

An invasive species of hornets is trapped by researchers with a clever scientific trick.

Researchers have studied the king hornet’s sex pheromones and used them to set traps that host male hornets.

The Asian giant hornet, which has been dubbed the “murder hornet” by the media, originated in East Asia but landed in the United States in late 2019.

The cunning insect has a stinger about a quarter inch long.

The murder hornet wreaks havoc in honey bee colonies and cultivated fields, putting insect and human livelihoods at risk.

Professor James Nieh, one of the leading researchers studying how to capture murder hornets, told The Independent “These are incredible social insects, but they don’t belong in North America and harm our populations. of critical bees, so we should remove them.”

Scientists have found that the male murder hornet is intensely attracted to the smell of queen pheromones, which is mainly composed of three different acids.

These acids are commercially available and used in traps that have produced thousands of captured male murder hornets.

Male murder hornets are misled into thinking they might find a breeding opportunity, but end up meeting their death deep in a trap.

Scientists have found that the male murder hornet is intensely attracted to the smell of queen pheromones.
Nieh et al/Science Direct

“Males are attracted to the scents of females because they usually mate with them near their nests,” Nieh said in a press release.

Nieh thinks a pheromone bait will attract a good portion of male murder hornets within a mile of the trap.

By cutting off the access of queens to males, the risk of murder hornets breeding will be greatly reduced and their population will be reduced.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture has released a map of existing murder hornet traps of all varieties set up along the Canada-US border.

In Asia, murder hornets kill about 50 people a year.

Their stinger injects a small dose of a neurotoxin called mandaratoxin, but researchers have found that the hornets are also capable of spraying venom into the eyes of victims.

Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologist Chris Looney shows off a dead Asian giant hornet.
Murder hornets wreak havoc in honey bee colonies and cultivated fields.
Pool/AFP via Getty Images

In 2013, swarms of murder hornets killed 28 people and injured many in China’s Shaanxi province.

Experts advise that if you are attacked by murder hornets, resist the urge to crush them. Your best bet is to run away as fast as you can while covering your face.

Wildlife expert and YouTube stuntman Coyote Peterson deliberately pricked himself with a captured murder hornet and said “it’ll put you in a lot of pain for about six hours.”

This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission.

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