SAVANNAH, Ga. — On Wednesday officials destroyed another nest belonging to a new invasive species of hornets in Georgia.
A cousin of the “murder hornet”, the yellow-legged hornet, targets honey bees and other important pollinators.
After recently discovering the yellow-legged hornet near Savannah, Georgia’s agriculture commissioner tells Channel 2 Action News that he thinks they’ve contained it in that area.
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Showing off part of a nest and one specimen of a yellow-legged hornet, Georgia’s Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper says after finding the first nest within the first two weeks of positive sightings Friday, teams on the ground in and around Savannah found and destroyed a second nest.
The hornet, first spotted by beekeepers, targets and attacks honey bees.
“This hornet is a predator of those pollinators,” Harper explained.
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Testing confirmed the yellow-legged hornet came from southeast Asia, likely as a stow-away on a cargo ship arriving at the port of Savannah.
While not very aggressive and a threat to sting you like the common yellow jacket, the threat is when it comes to crops and ultimately the food we eat and the prices we pay.
“This is a different kind of hornet. It can have detrimental impacts on our agriculture industry and translates to issues consumers will see in the marketplace,” Harper said.
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Agriculture is Georgia’s number one industry.
They found a second nest on Wilmington Island, just east of Savannah, but agriculture agents think they caught it early.
“This is encouraging because there are no reproductives in this particular nest, so have a little bit more time than we thought we might have had,” said Dr. Tim Davis of UGA extension service.
“Our team is going to remain vigilant. This is not over, this is a long process.” Harper said.
The agriculture department told Channel 2 Action News they will consider this pest “fully eradicated” after no sightings in a three-year period.
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