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Newly-Arrived Hornets Pose Threat To Honeybees

Picture shows a honeybee resting on a comb in Stuttgart, southern Germany.
Picture shows a honeybee resting on a comb in Stuttgart, southern Germany.

Honeybee populations in the United States have been steadily decreasing in the face of threats like climate change, habitat loss, pesticides and more. However, they now face a new and scarily-named threat: “murder hornets.”

The Asian giant hornet’s colloquial name is alarming, but the impact it could have on honey bees is real. The queens can grow to two inches long and can use their mandibles to clear out a honeybee hive in less than a day, killing adults and eating larvae.

Sightings of the insect in Washington State have prompted fears that the hornets could establish themselves in the U.S. and devastate honey bee populations.

How extensive could the hornets’ damage be to honeybees or other insects? What could this mean for pollination of crops and the health of ecosystems? And how just did these little buggers get here in the first place?

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.

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