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A queen of this invasive type of hornet was just captured along Georgia state line

ATLANTA — Wildlife officials said they have captured a queen of an invasive type of hornet that has moved in across the Southeast.

The yellow-legged hornet is a social wasp species that builds egg-shaped paper nests, often in trees. These nests can become huge, with an average of 6,000 workers.

The hornet is native to tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia, according to officials.

On March 14, Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry said it caught a queen yellow-tailed hornet in a trap in Jasper County, South Carolina, right on the state line with Georgia.

“The fact that we captured a queen is significant. It means that we have prevented a yellow-legged hornet nest from establishing in South Carolina. Georgia has been battling these insects and continues to capture them in the Savannah area, and we will continue to monitor our traps,” said Steven Long, assistant director of Clemson’s Department of Plant Industry.

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“While the yellow-legged hornet — not to be confused with the northern giant hornet — is no more harmful to humans than other hornets, it can have a devastating impact on both managed and wild bees,” Clemson said in a news release.

“The yellow-legged hornet is a predatory insect that has been reported to attack western honeybee colonies and has become a serious pest of beekeeping operations where it has been introduced,” said Ben Powell, who directs Clemson Cooperative Extension’s Apiary and Pollinator program. “Establishment of this exotic pest in the U.S. would pose a significant threat to our already embattled beekeeping enterprises.”

Georgians with additional questions or concerns are encouraged to email the Georgia Department of Agriculture at yellow.legged.hornet@agr.georgia.gov.

Here is what to include with your report:

  • Your name and contact information.
  • The location of the sighting.
  • Date of sighting.
  • If you can, safely take photograph(s) of the hornet (we generally can only confirm a report with a photo or specimen).
  • Location and approximate height of the nest if found (Is it in a tree? Approximately how high is the nest?).
  • If you have no photo, please include a description of the size of the insect, the color of the head and body, and what it was doing.
  • Description of the hive loss/damage (if no photo is available).
  • The direction the hornet(s) flew when flying away.

Officials said there are many domestic lookalikes that we have here in the United States who do not pose a threat to honeybees.

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