Tagging an Asian Giant Hornet

Photo by: Brandon Wong

Brandon Wong

Attack of the Murder Hornets Buzzes on to discovery+

By: Nesa Nourmohammadi

ATTACK OF THE MURDER HORNETS follows a group of beekeepers and scientists who work together to protect their community from deadly and invasive Asian giant hornets. The documentary premieres February 20 on discovery+

February 04, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t the only scary thing about 2020.

While the world dealt with a global health crisis, a small community in Washington state was buzzing (pun intended) by the emergence of deadly and invasive Asian giant hornets. Their stories will be the focus of an upcoming documentary, premiering Saturday, February 20 on discovery+.

ATTACK OF THE MURDER HORNETS follows a group of beekeepers and scientists who must work together to protect their community from the dangerous insects after a beekeeper discovers his colony of 60,000 honeybees destroyed. At the center of the documentary is Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologist (or insect expert) Chris Looney, who is on a mission to track down the hornets. Joining him in the investigation are beekeepers Ted McFall and Ruthie Danielsen, government insect-expert Sven-Erik Spichiger, and Conrad Bérubé, the first person to destroy a Murder Hornet nest in North America. Together, the team must track down a nest before the queens inside can escape to start their own colonies.

Sven-Erik Spichiger in protective gear holding a tube filled with Asian Giant Hornets.

Photo by: Brandon Wong

Brandon Wong

Sven-Erik Spichiger in protective gear holding a tube filled with Asian Giant Hornets.

Asian giant hornets earned the murder hornet moniker by the violent way they decimate prey. Using their large mandibles, the hornets can behead their prey in seconds. Studies show one Asian giant hornet can kill up to 20 honeybees in a single minute, while a small group can destroy a hive of 30,000 honeybees in 90 minutes.

Asian Giant Hornet emerging from a cocoon.

Photo by: Brandon Wong

Brandon Wong

Asian Giant Hornet emerging from a cocoon.

The destruction of honeybees by Asian giant hornets is a threat to people. Honeybees are considered the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. If too many are killed, the global food supply could be jeopardized.

For all things centered around ATTACK OF THE MURDER HORNETS, be sure to follow Discovery on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and use #MurderHornets to join the conversation on social media.

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