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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

With COVID-19 Cases Surging in Bexar County, Locals Are Apparently More Scared of 'Murder Hornets'

Posted By on Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 3:05 PM

click image A cicada killer wasp carries two cicadas up a fencepost. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / LARCOLT
  • Wikimedia Commons / Larcolt
  • A cicada killer wasp carries two cicadas up a fencepost.
In San Antonio, "murder hornet" paranoia apparently refuses to die.

According to KSAT, concerned locals have been submitting a slew of queries to the local Texas Parks and Wildlife Department after a May story in the New York Times stirred up panic that the U.S. was being invaded by Asian Giant Hornets. The Gray Lady gave the insects the now infamous appellation "murder hornets," making them an instant meme.

Meanwhile, the city — and Texas at large — keeps breaking records with each new day's coronavirus case and hospitalization numbers, likely due to our populace's failure to adhere to social distancing measures as Governor Abbott rushed the state out of lockdown, despite ample warnings from public health experts of the potentially dire consequences.

Fortunately, any murder-hornet-esque insects that we might encounter in Texas are unlikely to be the invasive giant hornets, which have only been seen in Washington state and British Columbia.

Instead, people are probably coming into contact with Cicada Killer Wasps, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department invertebrate biologist Ross Winton told KSAT.

"Cicada Killers can be found throughout Texas. Eastern Texas probably has higher numbers just because they have greater diversity and abundance of their Cicada prey. San Antonio is not a hot spot but we will see more show up this time of year across the state as cicadas emerge in summer," Winton told the station.

"They are not aggressive and will not readily sting unless provoked. I walked through large group of them last Friday and they cared more about hunting prey and mating than attacking humans," he continued.

The moral of the story? Murder hornets are the wrong bugs to be worried about right now.

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