April 23, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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‘Murder hornets’ are seen in the US for the first time, scientists say

The Asian giant hornet is nicknamed the "murder hornet." And yes, it's as bad as it sounds.

For the first time, giant Asian bees have been found in the United States, specifically in Washington state, scientists say. Beekeepers have reported stacks the bee dies with its head tricked, an alarming sight in a country with rapidly declining bee populations.

More than two inches long, they are the largest bee in the world with a sting that can kill humans if bitten repeatedly, according to experts at Washington State University. Researchers call them “killer bees.”

“They are like something from a cartoon monster with a big yellow orange face.” Susan Cobey, a beekeeper in the entomology department of Washington State University, said recently.

Scientists do not know how this native Asian giant bee ended up in Washington state.

They are sometimes transported by international cargo – in some cases intentionally, said Seth Truscott with WSU’s colleges of agriculture, human and natural resources.

The giant bee was first discovered in the state in December, and scientists believe it began reactivating last month, when the queen emerged from hibernation to build a nest and form a colony.

“Hornets are most damaging at the end of summer and early fall, when they are looking for sources of protein to increase the queen next year,” Truscott said. about WSU Insider.

“They attack honey bee hives, kill adult bees and devour larvae and cocoons, while aggressively defending occupied colonies,” he added. “Their stings are large and painful, with strong neurotoxins. Many stings can kill humans, even if they are not allergic.”

What should you do if you find it?

Washington state agriculture officials ask beekeepers and residents to report the appearance of the giant bee. But don’t get too close. The sting can penetrate a regular beekeeper’s suit, and state scientists must order a specially strengthened suit.

“Don’t try to get it out yourself if you see it,” said entomologist Chris Looney of State Department of Agriculture. “If you go into them, run, call us! It is very important for us to know every apparition, if we have hope to be eradicated.”
State officials called on people in Whatcom, Skagit, Island, San Juan, Jefferson and Clallam especially alert.

When did they damage the most?

The giant bees primarily attack bees between late summer and autumn.

“The most likely time to catch giant Asian bees is from July to October – when colonies are established and workers are looking for food,” Washington State Department of Agriculture words in a statement. “A trap can be hung as early as April if you try to trap the queen, but because there are fewer queens than workers, capturing a queen is very unlikely.”
State officials set traps and launch the application to report quickly sighting, said only a few of the bees can destroy the hive in a few hours.
Bees pollinate plants that produce fruit, nuts and vegetables, and are very important for the national food industry. Attacks by bees run the risk of destroying bees, which are already on the endangered list because their numbers have declined sharply.

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