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'Murder hornet' found in US for the first time

Officials there are working to prevent it from spreading after they confirmed multiple reports

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The world's largest hornet has been spotted in Washington state.

State officials there are working to prevent it from spreading after they confirmed multiple reports of it being there.

Some researchers refer to it as the murder hornet, The New York Times recently reported, leading the story to go viral.

"The stinger of the Asian giant hornet is longer than that of a honeybee and the venom is more toxic than any local bee or wasp," Washington State Department of Agriculture officials say. "Typical beekeeping protective clothing is not sufficient to protect you from stings."

The insect can typically be 2 inches long, five times the size of a honeybee, CNN has noted.

The insects attack when threatened and can sting repeatedly, Washington state officials have noted.

Video: What's the difference between a wasp, bee and hornet?

The hornets also can attack honeybee hives.

"A few hornets can destroy a hive in a matter of hours. The hornets enter a 'slaughter phase' where they kill bees by decapitating them," State Department of Agriculture officials said. "They then defend the hive as their own, taking the brood to feed their own young."