An invasive hornet that hunts honeybees is spotted in the U.S. for the first time

An invasive yellow-legged hornet that preys on honeybees and other pollinators has been detected in the U.S. for the first time near Savannah, Georgia.

The Hornet Discovery: The Georgia Department of Agriculture reported the first sighting of a live specimen of yellow-legged hornet in the U.S.
* Native to Southeast Asia, this hornet is a close cousin of the northern giant hornet, also known as the “murder hornet”.
* The yellow-legged hornet is identifiable by its yellow-tipped legs and dark abdomen with yellow bands that widen toward the insect’s rear.

Threat to Agriculture: The hornet poses a threat to honey producers and the farming industry due to honey bees’ crucial role in numerous crop productions.
* Bee pollination contributes approximately $15 billion to crops’ value according to a 2018 statement from the Food and Drug Administration.
* This hornet’s threat to crops is vital since about one-third of the food eaten by Americans comes from crops pollinated by honey bees, including apples, melons, cranberries, pumpkins, squash, broccoli, and almonds.

Eradication Efforts: The Georgia agriculture agency plans to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the University of Georgia to trap, track and eradicate this new threat.
* Georgia officials are encouraging the public to report possible sightings of this invasive hornet.

Honey Bee Predation: This species of hornet is notably destructive to bee colonies, massacring worker bees and larvae who have not evolved defences against such predators.
* Unlike common U.S. insects such as yellowjackets and the bald-faced hornet, this Asian hornet species engages in severe warfare on bee colonies, calling other hornets to commune at a discovered food source like a beehive.

View original article on NPR

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