U of I entomologists help differentiate between bugs

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Cicada Killer Wasps are often mistaken for “murder hornets,” but U of I entomologists want to make a few things clear.

MOSCOW, Idaho — When murder hornet sightings in Washington hit the headlines in May 2020, many people were concerned about the invasive species making its way to North Idaho.

However, University of Idaho entomologists Jason Thomas of Minidoka County and Brad Stokes of Elmore County are urging people to differentiate between the North Idaho bug known as the cicada killer wasp, and the more hostile Northern Giant hornet.

“They’re bigger than the standard wasp and make a loud noise when flying around,” said Thomas in a statement. “People are afraid they’re going to get stung but they’re not highly aggressive.”

The cicada killer wasp is a helpful species, helping with pollination efforts. The Northern giant hornets, also known as “murder hornets,” are a more deadly species. Compared to the Northern giant hornet, the cicada killer wasp is more docile.

So far, there have been no sightings of the deadlier Northern giant hornets in North Idaho, but plenty of sightings of the cicada killer wasp. The Northern giant hornets prefer cool, forest environments and are bigger than the cicada killer wasps.

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