Murder hornets are given a new name in Washington state after a group of insects created a ‘common name’

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Murder hornets have a new name in Washington State.

The invasive insect, also known as the Asian giant hornet, has been classified as a northern giant hornet by the Entomological Society of America (ESA).

The name has been added to the ESA list of common names of insects and related organisms.

Experts from the Washington State Department of Agriculture announced that they would opt for the ESA naming of the species Vespa mandarinia on Monday, July 25.

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Print and digital resources that mention murder hornets or Asian giant hornets will be updated to indicate the northern giant hornet instead.

In this photo provided by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, an Asian giant hornet wearing a tracking device is shown Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020 near Blaine, Wash.
(Karla Salp/Washington Department of Agriculture via AP)

The update to the “newly established ESA common name” will be reflected “in the coming weeks,” according to the agriculture department.

“The new official common names are intended to comply with ESA guidelines on insect common names, which include avoiding naming insects using geographic regions,” the department’s press release said.

He continued: “The new names should also help reduce confusion between V. mandarinia – which was known as the Asian giant hornet – and V. velutina – which was known as the Asian hornet.”

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Dr. Chris Looney, an entomologist at the Olympia Laboratory of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, was involved in renaming the hornet.

He reportedly proposed the name northern giant hornet, and he also proposed that the species Vespa soror be named the southern giant hornet and the species Vespa velutina be named the yellow-legged hornet to minimize confusion.

In this April 23, 2020, photo provided by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, a researcher holds a dead Asian giant hornet in Blaine, Washington.

In this April 23, 2020, photo provided by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, a researcher holds a dead Asian giant hornet in Blaine, Washington.
(Karla Salp/Washington Department of Agriculture via AP)

USDA resources always refer to northern giant hornets as Asian giant hornets.

Hornet species often target honey bees but can sometimes sting humans.

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“Asian giant hornets (northern giant hornets) are extremely large hornets ranging in size from 1.5 to over 2 inches long,” the USDA said. “They are equipped with relatively massive mandibles (teeth) and can easily tear honey bees in half.”

“Usually these hornets only attack honey bees in late summer or early fall, when the workers are feeding new queens and new males within the colony that will emerge to mate. in the fall,” the USDA continued.

In this Oct. 24, 2020, file photo, Washington State Department of Agriculture chief entomologist Sven Spichiger displays a canister of Asian giant hornets sucked from a nest in a tree behind him in Blaine, Wash.

In this Oct. 24, 2020, file photo, Washington State Department of Agriculture chief entomologist Sven Spichiger displays a canister of Asian giant hornets sucked from a nest in a tree behind him in Blaine, Wash.
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Northern giant hornets were first spotted in Washington during the winter of 2019. Reports of the insect spread across North America in 2020, including the United States and Colombia -British, Canada.

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Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologists have so far eradicated four northern giant hornet nests.