The insects' sting can also be lethal. To demonstrate how much it hurts, YouTube personality Coyote Peterson has shown what the sting is like on his show "Brave Wilderness." The video shows an "instant goose egg" forming on his arm where the hornet stung.
"Most people are scared to get stung by them," Ruthie Danielsen, a beekeeper, told the Times. "We're scared that they are going to totally destroy our hives."
According to the Washington State Department of Agriculture, the hornets reached the United States for the first time in December in the city of Blaine. The department verified four reports of the insects, according to CBS News. The WSDA also said some of the hornets were found in two locations in British Columbia.
Todd Murray, an entomologist and invasive species specialist, told WSU Insider the "shockingly large hornet" is a "health hazard, and more importantly, a significant predator of honeybees."
The insect feeds on large insects, including native wasps and bees, WSU Insider reported. With its voracious appetite, the hornet devastated the European honeybee, which has no defense. The hornets are most dangerous from late summer until early fall, WSU researchers said. The hornets attack hives, killing the adult bees and eating the larvae and pupae.
Several hornets can destroy a hive within minutes, researchers said.