President of Raleigh Co. Beekeepers Association talks murder hornets

RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Murder hornets, otherwise known as Asian Hornets, have reportedly touched down in the Pacific Northwest. 

Although we have no reports of them here in West Virginia yet, Raleigh County Beekeepers Association President Mark Lilly says they pose a threat to European honey bees, which is what we have here.

He says a hive of honey bees could potentially fight off a murder hornet, but Lilly has told his fellow beekeepers to be on high alert.

He says it is important for people to know the coloring difference between the Asian Hornet and the typical European hornet. 

“Familiarize yourself between the two. If you think you have actually, after you’ve compared photos, if you’ve seen the Asian Hornet, then absolutely you should contact the Department of Ag.,” he said. “But it is not something that should cause you to have a concern about going outside and enjoying your time outdoors.” 

He says the murder hornet only poses a threat to humans when someone is stung multiple times. 

When asked about how hornets from other countries are able to come into the United States, he says usually they travel in food shipments like fruit, and that is typically how they get other parts of the country as well.

To see a size and color comparison, check out this photo from the Washington State Department of Agriculture. 

If you suspect you do see an Asian Hornet in this state, contact the West Virginia Department of Agriculture at (304) 558-3550.

Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.