Invasive Yellow-Legged Hornet, that can snatch bees from the air, detected in the U.S. for the first time in Georgia

Yellow-Legged HornetPhoto byAlexandre DebièveonUnsplash

The yellow-legged hornet, also known as Asian Hornet is native to tropical and subtropical areas of south-east Asia – China, Japan, and Korea in particular. The invasive species can be identified by its yellow legs and dark abdomen striped in yellow and widening toward the insect’s rear. Earlier this month, a Georgian beekeeper in Savannah spotted the insect on his property and reported the insect to the state.

Hornets will sting honeybees mid-air, sending them plummeting to the floor. On the ground, they use their sharp mandibles to instantly decapitate the much smaller bees. During mass attacks on hives, hornets can literally kill thousands of bees within a few hours.

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper said in a statement:

Yellow-legged hornets can be dangerous, and we encourage Georgians not to approach and maintain a safe distance. The hornet feeds on a variety of insects, including honeybees and other native pollinators. If allowed to establish in the state of Georgia and the U.S., this pest could threaten honeybee production, native pollinators, and the agricultural industry in the state of Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture is asking residents to note the location and date of a sighting, any possible photographs, and the location and approximate height of any nests by filling out an online form.

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