Even as the United States is under attack from the coronavirus pandemic, a new problem awaits the country. A small insect, roughly of the size of 2-inch has made its way to Washington and is also known as “murder hornets.” According to the researchers, it’s for the first time they entered the US.
The murder hornet or the Asian giant hornet is responsible for the deaths of 50 people in Japan every year. However, experts have warned that it has the potential to devastate the local bee population, which is already in decline.
Scientists and honey breeders are now after the hornets hunt before they manage to wipe out the local bees. There the first appearance in North America was recorded in British Columbia in August 2019. A few months later, their presence was recorded near the southern border of Washington.
However, the scientists are still unsure about when and how these insects entered the US, but many bee farmers across the country have reported in hive deaths in recent weeks. They warned the people to gear up as the specie’s life circle becomes in spring.
According to scientists from Washington state university, these insects are large and are predators of honeybees. They added that these hornets are also a health hazard and invasive species specialist. They are usually of the size of a matchbox, have prominent black eyes, large yellow head, and yellow striped abdomen.
As the queens come out of the hibernation in April, their matting season has started, with a renewed life cycle. They then begin to search for subterranean areas to build their homes and look for food. After their habitats are fixed, the worker bees are assigned to search for food.
By using their sharp mandibles, the Murder hornets decapitate honeybees and use their bodies to feed the young hornets. A honey bee hive can be destroyed by hornets in just a few hours. Though honey bees are their prime targets, however, when they feel threatened, they attack people.
Even a few stings of these insects can kill any person. The Washington state university scientists plan to trap the queens of murder hornets in a bid to eradicate the species before they destroy honey bee hives.
The population pollinators were already under pressure in the united states, and studies suggest that from 1947-2017, the honey bee population plummeted from 6 million to 2.5 million. In 2019, the University of Maryland, in its research, claimed that almost 40% of the honeybee hives were destroyed in just a single winter.
According to the US agriculture department, honey bees and other pollinators are responsible for increasing the American crop values each year by more than $15 billion.
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