Cicada killer wasps have arrived. Don't confuse them for murder hornets.
These large wasps come by their name honestly, as prolific predators of cicadas. But they pose no danger to humans.
You may have heard of “murder hornets,” or Asian giant hornets, which made international headlines after a small number were spotted in the Pacific Northwest in 2019 and 2020. They are currently confined to the far northwestern corner of Washington State, in part due to a targeted campaign to find them and eradicate their nests.
Even so, the discovery of these aggressive, two-inch-long insects known for decimating entire honeybee colonies led to concern throughout the United States, with many people misidentifying local wasps as murder hornets. What many people are actually seeing, according to entomologist Justin Schmidt at the University of Arizona, is a harmless native wasp with an equally fierce name: the