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This non-native hornet is now in the US. Why it could spell trouble

There have been reported cases in which the hornets have unexpectedly projected "a liquid toward the human face."
This non-native hornet is now in the US. Why it could spell trouble
Posted at 2:52 PM, Aug 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-16 14:52:33-04

For the first time, the yellow-legged hornet has been detected in the U.S. 

A beekeeper in Savannah, Georgia discovered the hornet on his property earlier this month, according to the state's Department of Agriculture. 

Officials with the University of Georgia and the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed that it is, in fact, a yellow-legged hornet. 

The flying insect is native to subtropical areas of Southeast Asia, but has reportedly made its way to Europe, parts of the Middle East and now the U.S. 

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Anytime a non-native species is spotted, there's concern about its impact on the ecosystem. Officials in Georgia worry that the yellow-legged hornet could threaten honey production and agriculture, which is the state's number one industry. 

"Our experienced team of professionals will continue to assess the situation and are working directly with USDA APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) and UGA to trap, track, and eradicate the yellow-legged hornet in Georgia, " said Tyler Harper, agriculture commissioner for Georgia. 

Similar to other hornets, the yellow-legged hornet constructs egg-shaped paper nests above ground, officials said. Each nest can reportedly house an average of 6,000 hornets.

They have stingers that can injure people or pets. Additionally, a report published by the National Institutes of Health said there have been cases in France in which the hornets have unexpectedly projected "a liquid toward the human face." Those incidents reportedly caused, among other things, eye pain and symptoms consistent with conjunctivitis.

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