Cousin of ‘Murder Hornet’ Found in Georgia Threatens Critical Honeybees

An invasive species of hornet was spotted near Savannah, Georgia, and officials are worried about the damage the insects might cause.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture identified the insect as a living yellow-legged hornet, Fox Weather reported Wednesday.

An image shows a close-up image of the pest:

“This is the first time a live specimen of this species has been detected in the open United States,” the state agency explained on its website:

The yellow-legged hornet poses a threat to honeybees and other pollinators in our state. These pollinators play a significant role in Georgia’s agriculture industry, the state’s main economic driver, and it is imperative that these invasive pests are tracked and eradicated.

The public plays an important role, and we are asking Georgians to report sightings of the yellow-legged hornet using this online reporting form. We urge the public to be cautious in the event they come across a suspected yellow-legged hornet. If you can safely take a photo of the suspected yellow-legged hornet, we encourage you to do so to assist us with identification.

The species is native to Southeast Asia, and its nests can house 6,000 of the insects, the agency noted, adding it feeds on other bugs.

“If allowed to establish in the US, this invasive species could threaten honey production and Georgia’s native pollinators. These native pollinators play a vital role in our state’s agriculture industry,” officials explained.

Beekeepers reportedly made the initial discovery, and WJCL News reported Tuesday it is a cousin of the “murder hornet.”

The outlet also said people in Europe have reportedly died after being stung several times by the insect.

“This is a significant threat to Georgia agriculture. Georgia agriculture does depend on pollinators. If established, it could threaten the pollinators and threaten our ag industry as a whole. American farmers grow more than 100 different crops that require pollination,” Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper told reporters.


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