Expert: Murder Hornets could survive North American winters


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It will take years to determine whether the large, invasive “Murder Hornet” will be able to successfully establish itself in North America, but experts say the climate would not prevent it.

“They live in places in Asia with snow in the winter. Grand Rapids gets a fair bit of snow, but it’s also tempered a little bit by being pretty close to the lake, Lake Michigan. So personally, I would sort of have suspect they would live there,” Gard Otis, who researches insects at the University of Guelph in Ontario, said.

The hornets, recently discovered in Washington state, can reach 2 inches long. While they don’t generally attack people, especially if they’re not provoked, they have a painful sting that, for some, can be fatal.

Perhaps the bigger problem is that in the late summer and early fall, they attack honey bees, which farmers in the Pacific Northwest need to pollinate crops.

“It’s gotten a lot of hype, probably because of that name, but it is a very dangerous insect,” Otis said. “If people do encounter a big insect, especially if it’s going in and out of a hole in a tree or if going in and out of a hole in the ground, they should call somebody and get them to check it out.”

In Michigan, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy; Department of Natural Resources; and Department of Agriculture and Rural Development work together to respond to invasive species.

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