Why murder hornets are getting a new name
The world’s largest wasp has a new common name, designed to avoid evoking fear and xenophobia: the northern giant hornet.
“Murder hornets” are canceled.
When Asian giant hornets arrived in the Pacific Northwest in 2020, they were dubbed “murder hornets,” creating a media sensation.
But the coverage of the species—native to East Asia—and the nickname stoked fear among the public. Many native wasps were mistakenly killed and sales of hornet-killing pesticides jumped. And the moniker never made sense, since all hornets kill prey. For these and other reasons, scientists disliked the term and avoided it. (Related: 'Murder hornet' mania highlights dangers of fearing insects and spiders.)
Of course, the hornets are legitimately fearsome-looking at an inch and a half in length—the largest wasps in the world. Being stung can also be fatal to those with allergies and can feel