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Should I Be Worried about “Murder Hornets” in Phoenix?

Are “Murder Hornets” in Arizona?

No, there has not been a confirmed sighting of a “murder hornet” in Arizona. Dawn Gouge, an entomologist at the University of Arizona, told azcentral that Arizonans have little to worry about when it comes to the Asian giant hornet. Any large flying insects found in Phoenix are more likely to be paper wasps than hornets and a call to a local pest control company can eradicate them from the property. However, the news coverage over the last few months may still have many Arizonans worried, so we’ve taken the time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to Asian giant hornets in the United States.

What is a “Murder Hornet?”

Asian giant hornets are also known by the nicknames “yak killer hornets,” “giant sparrow bees,” and the infamous “murder hornets.” Asian giant hornets get their nicknames from their tendency to raid bee hives, rip the heads off of said bees, then carry the bodies back to their young. The reason that authorities figured out that the Asian giant hornet had made its way to Washington State was piles of dead bee bodies.

Can “Murder Hornets” Kill People?

Yes, they can, but one sting is unlikely to cause a healthy adult any significant issues. However, multiple stings can lead to complications. Around 25 people die in Japan every year from Asian giant hornet stings. The Asian giant hornet is one of the very few stinging insects that can kill humans due to its toxic venom, but most deaths from insect stings are the result of an allergic reaction to the venom. Dawn Gouge says that it would take “dozens, if not hundreds” of stings from the “murder hornets” to kill a person, but it is possible.

How Big of a Threat are “Murder Hornets” in Arizona?

There has not been a confirmed sighting of an Asian giant hornet in Arizona and it’s unlikely that Arizonans have much to worry about when it comes to “murder hornets.” The Asian giant hornet prefers temperate climates but they have been spotted in subtropical areas. They also thrive in forested areas, according to Dawn Gouge, and they feed on oak tree sap. They like to nest underground, often in small animal burrows. However, even though Arizona has plenty of forested areas, Asian giant hornets don’t do well at high altitudes. Gouge said, “I don’t see Arizona as being at high risk. They really do like to be in undistrubed areas. They don’t cohabit well with people.”

What Should I Do if I Find a “Murder Hornet?”

It’s unlikely that any Arizonan will find a “murder hornet” near their homes. However, if you think you have spotted an Asian giant hornet, it’s best to contact the United States Department of Agriculture. Do not attempt to capture or bring in an Asian giant hornet, as their stingers can pierce the protective equipment meant to protect workers from bee stings. Asian giant hornets want to be left alone, so do not get too close or aggravate the wasps. Do not disturb their nests.

What Bugs Look like Giant Asian Hornets in Arizona?

If you encounter a large flying insect, it’s much more likely to be a paper wasp than an Asian giant hornet.

Differences Between Paper Wasps and Asian Giant Hornets

asian giant hornet identification arizona

If you suspect a wasp infestation on your property, call Anteater Exterminating for high-quality pest control in Phoenix, Arizona.

Arizona is home to many a stinging insect. Paper wasps are common throughout Arizona, including western paper wasps, European paper wasps, Navajo paper wasps, yellow paper wasps, and brown paper wasps. It is far more likely that you will encounter a paper wasp than an Asian giant hornet in Arizona.


Paper wasps are (on average) 1 inch in length. As you can see in this figure provided by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, Asian giant hornets are nearly twice the size of most paper wasps.


Paper wasps are typically various shades of both brown and yellow. However, the coloring of a paper wasp depends on the species. Asian giant hornets are, in comparison, much more strikingly colored: a bright yellow head, black thorax, and yellow and black striped abdomens.

Paper Wasp Infestations in Arizona

While Arizona homeowners don’t have to worry about Asian giant hornets, they may encounter a paper wasp nest in or near their home. In that case, homeowners should call a professional pest control service such as Anteater Exterminating in Phoenix, AZ. Keep in mind that most paper wasps, especially in comparison with other wasps, are very rarely aggressive. However, they are protective of their nests. Paper wasps may sting perceived intruders when they disturb the nest or if the wasps sense too much movement near the nest. Paper wasp stings are painful and can result in serious reactions from sensitive or allergic indviduals. Do not attempt to remove a paper wasp nest inside or near your home. Call a pest control company!

How Can Anteater Exterminating Help?

At Anteater Exterminating Inc., our team is friendly and knowledgeable. They take the time to do a comprehensive inspection to ensure we catch any and all pests plaguing your home or business. We discuss our findings with you and are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Then, with your approval, we carry out a proven pest control plan aimed at the type of pests you have! If you suspect a paper wasp infestation or you want to remove a nest, call us today!

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Should I Be Worried about “Murder Hornets” in Phoenix?

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