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Don’t worry about Giant Asian Hornets coming to Florida. It could take years

Entomologists said the chances of Giant Asian Hornets coming to the Sunshine State are slim.

TAMPA, Fla. — Over the weekend, "Murder Hornets" were trending on social media.

The correct name is the Giant Asian Hornet. These insects are native to Japan and South Korea.

The first sighting of a Giant Asian Hornet was September 2019 in British Columbia. A few months later, in December, there was another sighting in Blaine, Wash.

This species of hornet is usually found in the mountains near the edge of the forest, and they nest in the ground.

Entomologists said the chances of Giant Asian Hornets coming to Florida are slim.

“The one thing that would change that is if they were to hitchhike on a human conveyance like some of these trucks or something like that,” said Dr. Chris Looney, an entomologist with the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

“That certainly happens, but this maybe isn't the kind of species that that's likely to," he said.

However, Looney said if the invasive species does start to multiply, it will take years before we see the Giant Asian Hornet on the east coast. 

Washington state scientists and researchers are trying to eradicate the invasive species because they pose a threat to the honeybee population.  

“It's brand new territory; it's never been in North America before, so we're just not positive. We don't know what the ultimate impacts would be if they became established,” Looney said.

“What we do know is that the species can quickly destroy honeybee hives, making them totally invaluable and unable to survive the winter.”

Both British Columbia and Washington are working with federal agencies to eliminate the Giant Asian Hornets.

And, researchers are asking everyone just to stay calm.

“It's not a murder hornet and they're not aggressive in the sense that they're going to come looking for people,” Looney said. “So, if you think you've seen one, the right thing to do is contact your local department of agriculture or University Extension Service.”

The University of Florida’s extension program, IFAS, said there is no evidence that the Giant Asian Hornet is in Florida.

Anyone who believes they have found this hornet can visit this FDACS page to submit a photo or specimen sample.

RELATED: 'Murder hornets' are showing up in the U.S.

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