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The first live specimen of a yellow-legged hornet, which “poses a threat to honeybees and other pollinators,” has been detected in the wild in the United States, according to a release from the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
The GDA, US Department of Agriculture, and the University of Georgia confirmed the presence of the hornet near Savannah, Georgia, in August, the release said.
The yellow-legged hornet is native to tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia and feeds on a variety of insects, according to the GDA. “If allowed to establish in the US, this invasive species could threaten honey production and Georgia’s native pollinators,” the release said.
“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 GDA said. “We are working with USDA APHIS and UGA to trap, track, and eradicate these pests and will continue to assess the situation as new information becomes available and allocate additional resources as need.”
The Georgia Department of Agriculture is asking for the public’s help in reporting any sightings of the yellow-legged hornet, but is urging caution “in the event they come across” one.