Horrible murderous hornets buzz towards Discovery +.
During its winter press tour presentation on Thursday, the streaming platform announced a February 20 premiere date for Attack of murderous hornets, a documentary that examines the vicious and invasive species – formerly known as the Asian giant hornets – that have secured a beachhead in North America. The insects first appeared on this continent in 2019, displaying an unpleasant penchant for beheading native bees by the thousands.
“I see [them] like something totally evil that shouldn’t be here, ”said Ted McFall, a commercial beekeeper from Washington state who appears in the documentary. It was the subject of a New York Times article last May after deadly hornets beheaded 60,000 of its bees.
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“I hope we will eradicate this thing so that other bees do not suffer the same fate as this particular colony,” McFall commented. “We depend on our bees… They are more than just a bug for us, so anytime anything happens to them, especially in such a terrible and brutal way, it’s very upsetting.
Giant Asian hornets can be up to two inches long. They sport a polished shell and bold paint job like a 1950s hotrod. How they got across the Pacific is unknown.
“We’re not 100% sure,” admitted entomologist Chris Looney, who works for Washington state. “They seem to correspond, genetically, to specimens from Japan or Korea.”
Whether homicidal wasps can be stopped before gaining more grip here remains a challenge for scientists.
“We don’t really understand if there is something controlling the populations in its original range that it is now liberated from that is going to go totally nuts here or if we can expect more or less the same level of. behavior and environmental impacts. [as in Asia]Looney said. “This is one of those really nagging questions that I wish we knew more about.”
Michael Paul Stephenson (The American cry, Best Worst Film) made the film, a non-fiction work that incorporates storytelling techniques associated with fiction, such as POV shots.
“I’m a horror and sci-fi genre fanatic and when I first read this New York Times article in May, I was immediately drawn to the character’s story and the odds were impossible against these beekeepers and entomologists, ”Stephenson explained. “It was interesting to watch this story through the lens of a fun sci-fi horror movie.”
Executive producer Howard Swartz, senior vice president of production and development at Discovery, also emphasized the film’s balance between fun and instruction.
“For us, it was an absolute snap moment to take great entertainment value and show the great science that was being done in real time on a very present real threat,” Swartz said. “The threat of an invasive species is obviously very real, especially with our bees and how important they are to the ecosystem as a whole.”
Entomologists in Washington state set traps for the hornets, then attached a radio tracking device to a handful of them, using glue and dental floss. This led them to a nest last October containing 100 or more creatures. Scientists quickly sucked them up for further study.
Hornet bites can prove fatal to humans. There is also a great risk to agriculture if the wasps kill the bees, which are essential for the pollination of crops.
Looney, the Washington entomologist, said the key to stopping the murderous hornets’ conquest of North America lies in interrupting their life cycle: feeding and mating.
“They need the same things to proliferate as humans,” he said, “food, shelter, happy times”.