Home LATEST NEWS Scientists rename ‘murder hornet’ to soften perception

Scientists rename ‘murder hornet’ to soften perception


Native to Asia, the invasive species has been occasionally seen in British Columbia and Washington State, USA, since 2019. It feeds on small insects and can wreak havoc in honey bee colonies .

The body of the insect can reach five centimeters, and its wings spread out four to seven centimeters. Although the northern giant hornet rarely attacks humans, its bite can be painful, in addition to causing swelling and redness, in particular.

Avoid stigma

According to the American entomologist behind the name change, Chris Looney, it was important to change the way we talk about the insect in question.

To establish the hornet’s new identity, the Entomological Society of America relied on new standards for assigning common names to insects. These prohibit in particular any reference to an origin or an ethnic group, as well as the use of names that can stir up fear.

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Considering the resurgence of hate crimes and discrimination against people of Asian origin, the use of the adjective “Asian” in the name of an invasive insect could fuel anti-Asian sentimentnotes the company in its press release.

Also under these new rules, American and Canadian entomologists have also renamed two other hornet species. Thus, the species Vespa sister becomes the southern giant hornetwhile the species Vespa velutina becomes the “yellow-legged hornet”.

With show information Daybreak South

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