Deadly hornets from Asia that measure up to 2 inches long and can wipe out entire honey bee colonies within hours have been spotted for the first time in the U.S.
These so-called “murder hornets” represent a threat to the honeybee population. The hornets-which have been blamed for 50 deaths a year in Japan—have been spotted in Washington, and according to the New York Times, can rip through a hive, killing a bee every 14 seconds.
But researchers found an interesting defense that Japanese honeybees have employed against the larger opponent. Bees in Japan have been known to form a ball around the invader and vibrate to produce heat that essentially can cook a hornet to death. The report said bees can survive in extreme temperatures and can kill a hornet in an hour.
The Times reported that European honeybees—which are common in the U.S.—try to sting the hornet, which proves futile due to their tough exoskeleton. A researcher told the paper that the Japanese honeybee learned to adapt through generations.
“Our honeybees, the predator has never been there before, so they have no defense,” Ruthie Danielsen, a beekeeper in Washington, told the Times.
Fox News' Robert Gearty contributed to this report