At two inches long and with a wingspan of three inches, Giant Asian Hornets are deadly. Their stinger is up to 10 millimeters long and contains a potent neurotoxin called mandaratoxin, which, in cases of multiple hornets stinging simultaneously, can kill a human. A single hornet can sting multiple times, and cause tissue necrosis, extreme pain, respiratory issues, liver damage, and blood clots, features commonly associated with snake venom. But people who are allergic to the venom can suffer anaphylactic shock and die from a single sting. Each year in Japan, the human death toll caused by Asian giant hornet stings is around 40-50. Nests are often found in urban settings and the hornets are aggressive by nature. 

Experts are now warning that the species will begin to swarm in spring, as the hornet’s life cycle begins in April.

Native to southeast Asia, they are most common in rural areas of Japan. Unintentionally introduced to France in 2004 in a shipment of pottery, the aggressive species quickly spread at a rate of 60-80 kilometers each year. They invaded Spain in 2010, Portugal and Belgium in 2011, Italy in 2012, Germany in 2014 before crossing the Channel into Great Britain in 2016.

It is not known how or where the hornet first arrived in North America but a nest was discovered in 2019 on Vancouver Island in Canada. Later that year, the Washington State Department of Agriculture confirmed a report of a dead specimen on the U.S. side of the border adjacent to Vancouver, the first report of this species in the United States. There were a total of four sightings of Giant Asian Hornets in Washington State last year.

In addition to the threat Asian Hornets pose to humans, they feed on honey bees and can devastate hives, eating up to 50 bees a day. Two dozen hornets can lay waste to an entire honeybee hive in a few hours, killing all the worker bees, taking over the hive, and claiming the larvae and pupae as a food source. 

Controlling the killers does not come cheap. In a study published by NeoBiota, researchers estimated the costs of control and nest destruction from 2006-2015 in France at over $25 million with only 30%-40% of detected nests being destroyed. The cost is similar in the UK.

Sometimes translated as ‘a plague’, hornets (הַצִּרְעָה)  are a key element in Redemption and, according to the Bible, helped the Hebrews conquer Israel after the Exodus from Egypt and like all the plagues, are prophesied to return in the end-of-days.

I will send forth My terror before you, and I will throw into panic all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn tail before you  I will send hornets (הַצִּרְעָה) ahead of you, and it shall drive out before you the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites. Exodus 23:27-28

Should you say to yourselves, “These nations are more numerous than we; how can we dispossess them?” You need have no fear of them. You have but to bear in mind what Hashem your God did to Pharaoh and all the Egyptians: the wondrous acts that you saw with your own eyes, the signs and the portents, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm by which Hashem your God liberated you. Thus will Hashem your God do to all the peoples you now fear.Hashem your God will also send hornets (הַצִּרְעָה) against them, until those who are left in hiding perish before you. Deuteronomy 7:17-20

The Bible states in the book of Joshua that the land was conquered with the help of these hornets.

I sent hornets ahead of you, and it drove them out before you—[just like] the two Amorite kings—not by your sword or by your bow. Joshua 24:12

According to Jewish tradition, the ten-plagues and all of the wonders that appeared during the Exodus from Egypt will reappear before the Messiah.

I will show him wondrous deeds As in the days when You sallied forth from the land of Egypt. Micah 7:15

“All of the miracles will reappear, all of the plagues, the entire story, in all its pain and all its glory,” Rabbi Berger said. “But before the Messiah, more plagues that were not seen in Egypt will appear. This is in preparation for the War of Gog and Magog in which God will play an active role, using the awesome forces of nature as his legions.”

“Before He reveals the Messiah, God will show his awesome glory as it has not been seen since the Six-Days of Creation. We cannot even imagine what will be.”

Rabbi Berger emphasized that in these difficult times, people needed to remain focused on “the important issues.”

“Signs of the geula (redemption) are coming faster and faster,” Rabbi Berger said. “Too many people are playing politics, jumping to play power or to hurt others. It is time to concentrate on tshuva (repentance). Now, more than ever, we are experiencing our interdependence. Now, there are endless opportunities to help each other in small ways that take on enormous importance. Despite our great scientific achievements, it is clear that God rules the world.”

“We need to come together, the Jews in Israel keeping the commandments and the nations keeping the Seven Noahide Laws.”

The government has called on the public to notify them via a cell-phone app concerning possible sightings.