Missouri probably doesn’t have ‘murder hornets’ – Just giant wasps

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation is debunking reports of Asian giant hornets, which are better known as “murder hornets,” spotted in the state. They say that the insects are not in Missouri. They likely could not survive here because of the climate.

The reports of the large insects are not unfounded. The Department of Conservation says that people are probably seeing wasps or the new queens of European or bald-faced hornets leaving nests and seeking hibernation sites. One of the ways you can identify them is a drop-shaped spot along their black abdominal bands. The Asian Giant hornet’s bands do not have the same sort of shape.

“Hornets tend to become active when the temperature reaches the upper 70s,” beekeeper Scott Famous tells the Washington Post. “They prefer hotter weather much more so than bees and smaller wasps, probably because they’re bigger and have a bigger mass to preheat for flight.”

If you have pictures for ID or questions, you can email MDC forestry here.

A chart to compare sizes, shapes and colors of hornets, wasps and bees. (WSDA/FTWP)

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