KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Warmer weather has arrived in East Tennessee, and it has brought wasps and hornets to many areas. The University of Tennessee Entomology and Plant Pathology said the hornets people see flying around their neighborhoods are almost always not Asian giant hornets.
They said they received many emails and calls from people who thought they saw Asian giant hornets. Most of the hornets they reported seeing are European hornets, which are significantly more common in East Tennessee.
They said some people also called in after mistaking common cicada killers for Asian giant hornets.
The best way people can tell if they found an Asian giant hornet is by looking at the black bands across the insect's abdomen. Asian giant hornets have straight bands that circle around the abdomen, while European hornets have black lines that resemble dripping paint.
Cicada killers also have large abdomens that are colored significantly more black than the other two species of hornets. Instead of having black lines around their abdomens, it can look like they have yellow bands circling them instead.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture previously said they have not detected any Asian giant hornets in the state. However, anyone unsure about the kind of hornet buzzing around them can reach out to their county's UT Extension agriculture agent.
People can find their county's UT Extension office online, by clicking on their county on a map of Tennessee at this website. The link will take users to a web page that includes information about the address of their county's office, their phone number and the hours they're open.