praying mantis murder hornet


Praying mantises—a bold new solution to murder hornets?

Video showing a mantis eating the head of a so-called murder hornet has everyone cheering for the insect.


Siobhan Ball

Internet Culture

Published May 7, 2020

The news about “murder hornets” making it to the United States prompted an old video of one of the hornets being eaten by a praying mantis to circulate on Twitter. Now everyone is wondering if the insect is the solution to fighting off the much-feared hornet.

The Asian giant hornets, dubbed murder hornets by a population justifiably freaked out by their unreasonable size, were first sighted in Washington State in December. At two inches long, capable of penetrating beekeepers’ protective gear, and venomous, the hornets seem especially threatening as an invasive species.

While they do pose some threat to humans, with the official advice on seeing them to “run away,” they don’t usually attack people or pets. The biggest threat posed is actually to honey bees as the hornets hunt the pollinators, first for food for their young and then to take over their hives for the winter. They’re also capable of killing and eating small rodents, lizards, and hummingbirds, so check out the links there if you want to be thoroughly upset today.

Seeing the praying mantis defeat and consume one of the hornets has been very cathartic for the internet, a reassurance that we can win in any war against the murder hornets should they chose to bring it.

Some are just jamming out the schadenfreude.

But others have a cunning plan.

Clearly having learned nothing from the story of the old lady who swallowed a fly, some suggest bringing the Chinese praying mantis (the indigenous ones are too small to take down a murder hornet) over and letting them tackle the problem.

Of course, then you have hungry praying mantises roaming the country, but that’s a problem for another day.


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*First Published: May 7, 2020, 1:36 pm CDT