INDIANAPOLIS — Despite a few rumors circulating on social media over the last couple of days, Indiana's Department of Natural Resources says there have not been any confirmed sightings of the Asian giant hornet, better known as the 'Murder Hornet,' in the state.
"Asian giant hornets" are an invasive and potentially deadly species that have recently been found in the United States. They're nicknamed "murder hornet," because their venous sting can kill a human if they are stung multiple times. They're also strong enough to puncture a beekeeper's suit. The large hornet is generally more than two-inches long and have been reportedly attacking bee hives in Washington state.
After they were reported in the U.S. a few days ago, people took to social media to speculate on the giant bugs they had been seeing in several areas, including Indiana.
A spokesperson for the DNR Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology says the only confirmed sightings of the Asian giant hornet in the United States have been on the west coast. They say if the insect was seen in Indiana, it would likely show up around July or August.
"This time of year we receive a number of reports of 'large bees' that typically end up being either cicada killers or European hornets," Marty Benson, Assistant Director for the Indiana DNR said in an email to RTV6.
If you do see an insect that concerns you, report it at 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (663-9684).
Cicada killers are generally found in Kentucky and southern Indiana during the summer months. Their stings can be painful, but they are not considered aggressive and they do not have nest-guarding instincts like bees or hornets, according to the University of Kentucky Entomology Department.
European Hornets arrived in the United States in the 1980s and can be found throughout the eastern United States. They're technically the only "true" hornet on the continent, according to insectidentification.org.
The European Hornet is a very large multi-colored insect with a black and red head and thorax and an abdomen that is black with yellow stripes. Their large size can be intimidating, but the European Hornet is an insect-eater and a sting from the insect rarely requires medical attention.