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Northern Giant Hornet

Scientific Name

Vespa mandarinia Smith, 1852 (Perrard et al. 2013)

Common Name

Northern giant hornet; formerly known as Asian giant hornet or AGH (Entomological Society of America 2022)

Native To

Asia (APHIS 2020)

Date of U.S. Introduction

Was first detected in Washington State in 2019 (APHIS 2020)

Means of Introduction

Unknown (APHIS 2020)


Pest of honey bees that can cause the complete loss of colonies (APHIS 2020)

Asian giant hornet
Image use policy

Asian giant hornet


Photo by Allan Smith-Pardo; USDA, APHIS, PPQ

Find more images


  • Invasive Pest Trapping Season Resumes

    • May 17, 2023
    • Washington State Department of Agriculture.

    • The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is beginning its annual search for pests that could threaten the state’s environment and agricultural industry. Staff will set thousands of traps statewide to monitor for the introduction or spread of more than 130 invasive pests and diseases, including spongy moth, Japanese beetle, apple maggot and northern giant hornet.

      WSDA is still asking residents to report all suspected hornet sightings. Northern giant hornet queens should be active now and could be spotted while they establish their nests. As the colony grows, worker hornets may become increasingly visible throughout the summer and into the fall. See Public hornet trapping instructions for more information.

  • ARS Research News - ARS Asian Giant Hornet Specialist Is Part of New Exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History

    • Jul 11, 2022
    • USDA. Agricultural Research Service.

    • Agricultural Research Service research entomologist Matt Buffington is part of a new exhibit "Our Places: Connecting People and Nature" at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington DC. The exhibit explores how peoples' experiences with nature inspire them as well as offering visitors a chance to learn about how dedicated scientists and community members work to protect the environment.

      Among the objects in "Our Places," is part of the actual Asian giant hornet "Nest Zero," the first place these huge hornets set up housekeeping when they arrived in Washington State from Asia in October 2019. Asian giant hornets are a concern because sometimes they can feed on honey bees, buzzsawing through a colony in minutes, and they deliver extremely painful stings to people, but fortunately only if provoked. To quell their spread, Washington State Department of Agriculture, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), both part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, worked to locate and remove the invasive hornets' nest.

  • ‘Northern Giant Hornet’ Adopted as Common Name for Vespa Mandarinia

    • Jul 25, 2022
    • Entomological Society of America.

    • The Entomological Society of America has adopted "northern giant hornet" for the species Vespa mandarinia in its Common Names of Insects and Related Organisms List. Vespa mandarinia is an invasive hornet native to Asia that has been the target of eradication efforts in Washington state, USA, and British Columbia, Canada, after individual hornets were first discovered there in 2019. It has been referred to elsewhere as "Asian giant hornet" or "murder hornet."

  • Invasive Species Data Citizen Science Data Critical to Fighting the Asian Giant Hornet

    • Mar 3, 2021
    • Western Governors' Association.

    • This article highlights the role of data in responding to the Asian giant hornet and describes how officials at the Washington State Department of Agriculture employed 'citizen scientists' and ‘cooperators’ to locate and eradicate a nest of deadly Asian giant hornets in their state.
      See also:
      Western Governors' Association Launches Invasive Species Data Mobilization Campaign (Dec 18, 2020)

  • North American Hornet Screening Tool Now Available

    • Jun 21, 2021
    • USDA. APHIS. PPQ. CPHST. Identification Technology Program.

    • ITP is pleased to announce the release of North American Hornet Screening Tool. Hornets in the genus Vespa play a critical role as predators in their native habitats, but in North America these species may have a disastrous impact on agriculture by reducing populations of important pollinators such as the honey bee. Hornets also pose a serious health risk to humans because of their powerful sting. North American Hornet Screening Tool is designed for anyone who may encounter these species in the U.S., including the Asian giant hornet (AGH, V. mandarinia). 

      North American Hornet Screening Tool includes fact sheets and an interactive image gallery to support screening for Asian giant hornet and other potentially invasive hornet (Vespa) species. The interactive gallery can be used as a rudimentary key: by choosing one or more of the filters at the top, you can easily narrow down the images to only those that may match your specimen. A more in-depth version of this tool providing specialized information for identifiers on all exotic hornet (Vespa) species, will be released in 2022.

  • Asian Giant Hornet Complete Genome Released by the Agricultural Research Service

    • Aug 6, 2020
    • USDA. Agricultural Research Service.

    • The first complete genome of the Asian giant hornet has been released by a team of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists. ARS has made the genome available to the research community in AgDataCommons and the National Center for Biotechnology Information, even before publishing the results in a scientific journal to make the data freely accessible as quickly as possible.

      The goal is to produce the genome and make it available quickly after an invasive insect is detected so researchers will have this information immediately to help coordinate an effective response.

  • No, Americans Do Not Need to Panic About "Murder Hornets"

    • May 5, 2020
    • Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Magazine.

    • The Asian giant hornet, seen for the first time in North America in 2019, is unlikely to murder you or U.S. bees, according to a Smithsonian entomologist.
      See also: Additional Invasive Species related articles

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

  • Northern Giant Hornet Public Dashboard

    • Washington State Department of Agriculture.

    • The Northern Giant Hornet Public Dashboard shares detection and trapping data. Citizen scientists were able to view detections in real time, including the number of reported sightings and number of hornets confirmed by type. Coordinating this information provided input on future trapping and demonstrated the benefit of collaboration with citizen scientists. WSDA has indicated that citizen data sharing and bottle trapping efforts are crucial to protect Washington from this invasive species.


Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source.

Council or Task Force
Federal Government
International Government
  • Pest Alert: Asian Giant Hornet [PDF, 330 KB]

    • Sep 2019
    • Government of British Columbia. Ministry of Agriculture.

    • Three Asian Hornets (Vespa mandarinia) were found in the Nanaimo area on Vancouver Island in mid-August. The identification has been confirmed by Canadian and international experts. This is the first time this insect has been found in British Columbia. Please report suspected Asian giant hornet sightings to the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia.

  • Rural and North - Northern Giant Hornets

    • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (Canada).

State and Local Government