Invasive hornets could hurt Georgia beekeepers and farmers

Researchers say they don't consider the hornets to be a huge risk to humans, but the are predators to honey bees.
Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 6:33 PM EDT
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REBECCA, Ga. (WALB) - For over 40 years, beekeepers have experienced challenges due to diseases and parasites that have contributed to honeybee shortages. South Georgia beekeepers tell WALB the yellow-legged hornet just adds to those challenges.

Keith Delaplane, the UGA honeybee program director, says they don’t consider the hornets to be a huge risk to humans. With the hornets being predators of honeybees, that’s where the problem lies.

Honeybees are responsible for about 80% of the world’s pollination. They play an important role in crops such as almonds, oranges and other fruits.

Some may ask how did the hornet get to Georgia? Well, researchers at the University of Georgia told WALB they believe the hornets were transferred through import shipments from Asia.

“Their nickname is called ‘bee hawks’ because they can swoop down out the sky and pick them right out of the air and then grind up the bee and take it back to feed it to their Canavatis,” Delaplane said.

Bee pollination adds $15 billion to crop’ value, according to the Food and Drug Administration so, keeping these hornets away from hives is what beekeepers are hoping to do.

If you see the hornets or suspect signs of the impact in your area, contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture here.