SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) — Although the giant asian hornet has not been reportedly seen in the Bay Area, it has gotten the attention of many Sonoma County beekeepers.

Described as a vicious predator and dubbed “Murder Hornets” for what they do to honeybees, the world’s largest hornet is more than two inches long.

“It can destroy a colony of Bees, and that’s 50,000 or more bees, in three hours,” said Peterson Farms Sonoma beekeeper Ettamarie Peterson, who’s been a beekeeper for decades.

Ettamarie says even though only four have been seen in Washington State, folks here are on edge.

“You’re bee suit isn’t good enough defense for them,” said Peterson.

It’s believed the giant hornet came from Japan, hitch-hiking on a container ship.

Honeybees are one of the critical components of a successful agricultural economy, pollinating oranges, cherries and any other flowering fruit and nut trees. They are also under assault from pesticides and drought.

Peterson says keeping bee-friendly plants is one way to help keep bees safe. However, there may be no defense against the murder hornets.

“No, there’s actually nothing you can do to prepare, said Peterson.” You can only be on the lookout.”

The Sonoma County Beekeepers Association is hoping Washington state authorities can contain the giant asian hornet before it escapes south.

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