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A case of mistaken identity: Is it a Cicada Killer Wasp or a Murder Hornet?

Murder hornet collage.jpg
Hanna Royals, Museum Collections: Hymenoptera, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
The Murder Hornet is on the left, the kindler, gentler Cicada Killer Wasp is on the right. Note the Murder Hornet has a much bigger head than the wasp.

Murder Hornets have a very fierce and well-deserved reputation. They kill off beneficial honeybee hives and carry a very nasty sting.

They’re also an invasive species, so when they first showed up in Washington state two years ago they were met with dismay and apprehension by bug experts and people who rely on honeybees alike.

Now people in Idaho are on the lookout for these nasty critters, but it turns out another type of bug, this one beneficial to Idaho's landscape, looks a lot like the murder hornet.

That’s a problem when well-meaning Murder Hornet hunters try to kill off the wrong bugs, and it’s something University of Idaho extension entomologists Jason Thomas of Minidoka County, and Brad Stokes of Elmore County are trying to prevent.

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