Praying mantises will save us all from murder hornets

Watch a hungry praying mantis eat an Asian giant hornet in this horrifying video.

Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read

Seeng a praying mantis nibble on the brains of a murder hornet is both gruesome and gratifying.

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

If you haven't heard about murder hornets invading the US, you probably are living an innocent, "insect nightmare"-free existence under lockdown. Some of the rest of us are wondering when murder hornet swarms will attack the minute we decide to go outside to walk our dogs or take the trash out. 

For a quick primer, murder hornets (the nickname for Asian giant hornets) were recently spotted in Washington state. They are 2 inches long and can sting through protective beekeeping suits. Their venom is equivalent to that of a venomous snake, and they can sting multiple times. 

They also destroy bee colonies in a short amount of time, and decapitate the bees and eat their bodies. 

But thankfully, a savior has arrived. It seems another insect could be a big threat to Asian giant hornets -- the praying mantis. In a video that went viral on social media this week, a praying mantis not only attacks a murder hornet, but chomps on its brains.

The short video begins with the mantis remaining motionless while its multiple eyes carefully watch the murder hornet. The mantis suddenly pounces on the hornet, and holds it in place with its long front legs. Finally, the mantis pecks at the hornet's head until it eventually eats the hornet's noggin, brains and all. Yum.

Praying mantises are known for eating other insects like moths, crickets and grasshoppers, as well as frogs, lizards, snakes and even birds. Heck, praying mantises even eat each other after mating.

It's a relief to know murder hornets are also on their menu. Then again, there's also video footage floating around of an Asian giant hornet attacking and eating a praying mantis. So don't throw a victory party yet.

Of course, humans could always help out by eating murder hornets. People living in the central Chubu region of Japan enjoy eating the murder hornets, as well as wasps and bees. They also drown the insects in liquor for an extra buzz.

But if you don't plan on making murder hornet tacos anytime soon, it's nice to know praying mantises have our backs. 

As expected, people posted their appreciation on social media for the praying mantis that murdered the murder hornet. 

"Murder hornet? Pssh. More like Murdered Hornet," one person tweeted

"The Praying Mantis is the new savior of 2020!" tweeted another.