Here's the Latest Invasive Hornet We Need to Worry About

Yellow-legged hornet spotted alive in US for first time
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2023 5:20 AM CDT
Updated Aug 19, 2023 4:00 PM CDT
Here's the Latest Invasive Hornet We Need to Worry About
Stock photo of an Asian hornet.   (Getty Images / Wirestock)

For the first time in the US, a yellow-legged hornet has been spotted—and that's not a good thing, officials warn. The Vespa velutina is an invasive species, and the one found by a Georgia beekeeper was alive. If left unchecked, the species could damage agriculture in the state, CBS News reports. "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," Georgia's ag commissioner says in a statement.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls the hornet a smaller, "bee-eating cousin" of the so-called murder hornets, another invasive species plaguing the US. The hornet, which is a social wasp species, eats insects including honeybees, and officials say the trickle-down effect is bad news for crops that rely on pollinators. It's native to tropical regions of Southeast Asia but has spread to other parts of Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. As officials investigate the situation in Georgia, they will test the DNA of the specimen that was found to determine from which country it originated. One expert says this species is often called a "bee hawk" due to the way it attacks honeybees while flying. (More invasive species stories.)

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