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No, you probably haven't found an Asian 'murder hornet'

Some Central Texans have confused cicada-killer wasps, which are native to Texas, for Asian giant hornets.

AUSTIN, Texas — As the Texas summer rolls on and you spend more time outdoors, you're likely to encounter insects flying and crawling around, including ones that are big and mystifying.

Recently, KVUE viewers have shared photos like the one below of what they believed to be Asian giant hornets or "murder hornets," as some people in Japan call them because they're known to kill people.

RELATED: 'Murder Hornets,' with sting that can kill some people, land in US

But the two-winged, striped insect shown in this picture is not an Asian giant hornet. It's actually an eastern cicada-killer wasp, which is native to Texas.

Credit: KVUE viewer
This is a photo a KVUE viewer shared of an eastern cicada-killer wasp.

In the U.S., the Asian giant hornets have so far only been discovered in Washington state. There haven't been any confirmed reports of the insect in Texas, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension experts.

Asian giant hornets can grow to be as long as two inches, while eastern cicada-killer wasps typically don't get much bigger than 1.5 inches.

RELATED: Could 'murder hornets' make their way to Texas? A San Antonio entomologist has the answer

The most notable difference is in the color and stripes of their abdomen. Asian giant hornets have smooth-looking brown and orange stripes covering their abdomens, like in the photo shown below. Eastern cicada-killer wasps have black and yellow stripes that sometimes look like mountains.

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Asian giant hornets make their nest on a tree trunk.

According to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), the Asian giant hornet can sting through most beekeeper suits, deliver nearly seven times the amount of venom as a honey bee and sting multiple times. 

The department hopes to find and destroy their nests by mid-September before their colonies reproduce new queens and drones, which will prevent their spread.


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