Science & Tech

Scientists change the name of terrifying 'Asian giant hornet' to avoid hate crimes

Scientists change the name of terrifying 'Asian giant hornet' to avoid hate crimes
Witness describes Portland man yelling racial slurs and attacking Asian family

Scientists have changed the name of bugs known as “Asian giant hornets” to “northern giant hornet” to prevent anti-Asian hate crimes.

In a press release, The Entomological Society of American said they feared the stigma attached to the hornet's scientific name could lead to violence.

“Amid a rise in hate crimes and discrimination against people of Asian descent, usage of ‘Asian’ in the name of a pest insect can unintentionally bolster anti-Asian sentiment,” it said.

The bugs entered the US in 2019. They are colloquially called "murder hornets" and grow up to two inches long.

“Common names are an important tool for entomologists to communicate with the public about insects and insect science,” the group’s president Jessica Ware added. “Northern giant hornet is both scientifically accurate and easy to understand, and it avoids evoking fear or discrimination.”

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Meanwhile, anti-Asian crimes in New York City saw the largest increase in actual incidents in 2021, going from 30 in 2020 to 133 last year, for a 343 per cent spike, according to NYPD data.

The scientists also said that all hornets are actually native to Asia, so the name doesn’t make much sense to begin with.

“‘Asian giant hornet’ does not convey unique information about the biology or behavior of the species,” the society’s statement read.

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