A recent post on The Salott had many worried about the appearance of a supposedly new kind of ‘killer bee’. Described by those who’ve seen it as being very large and having a painful sting, the Oriental Hornet has many fearing a resurgence of alien species in the Maltese Islands, potentially kicking out the endemic Maltese honey bee.
Usually found in ventilators, it’s estimated that pest control receives around six calls a day due to hornet infestations. Attacking bird and rat nests, these buggers are powerful hunters. Here’s what you need to know.
1. It’s a local
Also known as iż-Żunżan Bagħal in Maltese, the Oriental Hornet is found throughout southern Europe, Israel, and northeast Africa, stretching as far as Madagascar, and southwest Asia. It’s been here forever, but that doesn’t make it less of an asshole.
2. This is not the first time we’re panicking about it
Turns out this insect made headlines way back in 2015 when a hornet infestation drove a family out of their home in Gzira. Reports have come in that they’ve seen the hornets carrying rat heads and lizards.
3. It’s packing more firepower than the honey bee
These hornets have a far more painful sting than the Maltese honey bee, and have an unbarbed stingers that can be used multiple times. A sting from the Oriental Hornet may require medical attention, especially if the person in question is allergic or suffers multiple stings.
4. Other bee species could be under threat
Bees and other insects act as prey for the Oriental Hornet. While there does not seem to be any immediate threat to honey bee populations as a direct result of the Oriental Hornet, you may want to ensure you’ve got none nesting before setting up your own apiary.
5. Provoking it never helped anyone
Bish, don’t go waving that hornet away or prodding at its nests; just stay the hell away from it. A quick call to pest control is always the safer approach if you’re suspecting an infestation as regular bug spray won’t cut it.