Invasive Asian hornet that feasts on bees spotted in US for first time sparking warning

Invasive Asian hornet that feasts on bees spotted in US for first time sparking warning

The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) announced it had detected the invasive killer species after a beekeeper in Savannah made the discovery earlier this month
The dangerous bee-eating Asian hornet has been spotted in the US for the first time as officials issue a warning over the invasive pest.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture says a beekeeper in Savannah discovered the yellow-legged hornet earlier this month. There are now growing fears the hornet could threaten bee hives and honey production.

If the hornet establishes itself in Georgia, agriculture and US native pollinators could be under threat., experts warn. The GDA say a team of professionals is now working on tracking the yellow-legged hornet while asking for the public to help spot these hornets.

Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper said: “Georgians play an important role helping GDA identify unwanted, non-native pests, and I want to thank the beekeeper who reported his sighting to us, as well as our partners at the University of Georgia and USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service for working swiftly to confirm its identity.

“Our experienced team of professionals will continue to assess the situation and are working directly with USDA APHIS and UGA to trap, track, and eradicate the yellow-legged hornet in Georgia. ”

The yellow-legged hornet is a social wasp species that builds egg-shaped paper nests which can become huge, with an average of 6,000 workers. Native to tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia, the species can be fatal to other insects, reports WSB-TV.

While the GDA is asking for reports from the public if spotted, they also advise caution in the event of a sighting. The GDA said its team of Pest Program scientists, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and academic experts are developing an ‘operational plan to trap, track, and eradicate the yellow-legged hornet in Georgia.’

Dr. Mark Davidson, Deputy Administrator of APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine Program said: “The foundation of this response is the strong relationship USDA has developed with the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the University of Georgia over many years. Our partnership is already paying off as our teams come together to apply the science and technology in our response planning. The public can also play a critical role by reporting potential sightings of the hornet to help eradicate this pest.”

GDA’s website has been updated with additional information regarding the yellow-legged hornet and an easily accessible form to report potential sightings

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