SAULT STE. MARIE -- Amidst the concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, another potential threat is stirring up fears online. They are quickly becoming known as 'murder hornets.'

Sue Childs is an award-winning beekeeper from North Bay. She has nearly 200,000 honey bees. She understands why some North American beekeepers on the west coast are worried about their honey bee colonies.

“I’ve not heard of another insect being such a predator, specifically a predator of a honeybee and I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s probably, it's most frightening,” said Childs.  

Deborah Sparks is with the Invasive Species Centre based out of Sault Ste. Marie.

"The hornets are carnivorous and they’re basically top predators in the insect world,” said Sparks. 

Last year, Asian giant hornets were found in British Colombia and Washington State. What makes these insects so dangerous is the amount of damage the hornets can inflict in a short while.

“A colony of [Asian giant] hornets can kill up to 30,000 bees in a few hours," said Sparks.

Childs isn’t particularly worried about her bees being killed by the “murder hornets.”  

“I’m not terribly concerned that the Asian giant hornet is going to be strong enough or genetically diverse enough to make it all the way to northern Ontario," said Childs.

She said she is more worried about local northern Ontario predators getting to her honey bees.  

“To be very honest with you I have more worries about black bears getting into my bee yard,” she said.

Sparks also wonders if the hornets will be able to make it across Canada. She says more research is needed on the insects.