An Invasive Hornet Is Spotted In The U.S. For The First Time

After detecting a yellow-legged hornet in Savannah, Ga., agricultural officials are raising the alarm. These insects are incredibly effective at killing honeybees and other pollinators.”This is the first time a live specimen of this species has been detected in the open United States,” Georgia’s agriculture department declared after confirming the insect’s presence with the USDA and the University of Georgia.

The yellow-legged hornet, Vespa velutina, is found in Southeast Asia. Vespa mandarinia, sometimes known as the Asian giant hornet or, more frighteningly, the “murder hornet,” is a close relative of the northern giant hornet. The yellow-legged hornet is a hazard for industries other than honey. Honey bees play an important role in pollinating almonds, cherries, oranges, and other foods.

Because agriculture is Georgia’s main industry, the state administration has proclaimed that “it is imperative that these invasive pests are tracked and eradicated.”In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration projected that bee pollination increased crop value by over $15 billion.”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,” according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The University of Georgia, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Georgia Department of Agriculture are working together to detect, monitor, and eradicate the new pollinator threat. The newly spotted hornet’s dark belly is marked with yellow bands that spread toward the rear, and the insect’s legs have yellow tips.This is not the type of wasp you’re looking for.

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

“Vespa are known as the ‘true hornets’ and are exceptional predators,” according to Clemson University’s Land-Grant Press, referring to the genus that includes both the yellow-legged hornet and the northern giant hornet. They are not the same as North American wasps. The Asian hornet belongs to the genus Vespa, as do the common yellowjacket and bald-faced hornet in the United States.

Because of the two invasive hornet species, North American and European bee populations that have not evolved with predators suffer a number of issues. They have a thick exoskeleton that protects them from stings, and are more larger and stronger than honey bees. When they discover a food source, such as a beehive, they employ pheromones to attract other hornets to their nests.

According to the Land-Grant Press, hornets would capture bee larvae after destroying the defending worker bees. “Most hornets prey on other insects’ larvae, and many species of hornets target nests of other social bees and wasps,” the paper goes on to say.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *