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My son was based near Tokyo (Air Force) almost ten years ago. All the hype created by our media here pisses him off. They were over there all along, and you just deal with them as we do any bee. Large...yes. Hurt...sure. But invasive?......what insect is not, given free reign?
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Most responding to this thread seem to be focused mostly on the effect of the hornets on humans. I'm not one of those. My undergrad studies were mostly in entomology, and I focused a lot on hymenoptera (wasps, bees, ants and all their relatives). I understand those well, and know how to avoid them and avoid being stung. So that's not the issue for me.

The issue for me is the pollinator bees, which are already under stress from CCD (colony collapse disorder) which is still not fully understood. If these murder hornets spread across the US, the potential agricultural impact -- note potential (I'm making no prediction) -- could be enormous. In Asia where this hornet occurs naturally, it appears that pollinator bees there have evolved a strategy to deal with these hornets by attacking and killing the scouts as they enter the colony so news of their existence doesn't get back to the hornet nest. You can find references to that back on page one of this thread.

So far as I know, no such strategy exists (yet) in US bees.

That's the main reason I posted this thread, to encourage people here to report any sightings of these hornets to the state so they can hopefully be eradicated before they spread.

The problem is, too many people will have the same idiotic attitude about these hornets that they do about corona virus. "Don't sweat it, it's just the flu. We don't need to isolate, or social distance. Mask? Why? I look better without one." Etc, etc, et nauseating cetera.

I can hear the same people saying, "Murder hornets? So what? I'll just swat them. By the way, what happened to all the fresh fruit and vegetables?"
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Pepperjd, are you absolutely sure? If so, you will likely make news because so far, the murder hornets are only being reported in western Washington and Vancouver British Columbia. There is another species similar to it in the US, but it's noticeably smaller while still being significantly larger than regular hornets. It's likely what you have in N/S Carolina.

But this just in: there's news now emerging that the experts who did the identification of the first-found murder hornets mis-identified them, and that they're not MH's at all, but the larger native. This was learned by sending the specimens to true experts. I won't draw any conclusions yet -- we all know that news stories can change by the day -- but will continue to watch this and hope for the best.

I understand well from first hand experience how this can happen. During my grad studies, I supported myself (during one phase) as a graduate assistant working in the university insect museum -- think tens of thousands of insects on pins (mostly) or in vials of alcohol -- that had been ID'ed down to at least genus and sometimes to species. I was told by my supervisor to pick a group -- I chose solitary bees -- and work on identifying the newer ones that were preserved but not ID'ed below family name. I spent a couple of years trying to ID bees to the species level. Rarely did I succeed, even with very significant training in taxonomy and identification procedures, and often had to ship them off to an expert, mostly in the Smithsonian.

It's hard enough for even trained entomologist to ID to family or genus. But to get the species right often (usually?) requires an expert in that particular family or genus. It's very tedious work, but important in cases like this.
 

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Gary, Wikipedia says this about their native lands. "It is native to temperate and tropical East Asia, South Asia, Mainland Southeast Asia, and parts of the Russian Far East." Murder hornet is a nickname, but their informal name is actually Asian giant hornet, with the Latin species name Vespa mandarinia.
Seems like Asia / China ... has been sending us all kinds of nice stuff .
Seems like China / Asia isn't our friends any more...
 

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Pepperjd, are you absolutely sure? If so, you will likely make news because so far, the murder hornets are only being reported in western Washington and Vancouver British Columbia. There is another species similar to it in the US, but it's noticeably smaller while still being significantly larger than regular hornets. It's likely what you have in N/S Carolina.

But this just in: there's news now emerging that the experts who did the identification of the first-found murder hornets mis-identified them, and that they're not MH's at all, but the larger native. This was learned by sending the specimens to true experts. I won't draw any conclusions yet -- we all know that news stories can change by the day -- but will continue to watch this and hope for the best.

I understand well from first hand experience how this can happen. During my grad studies, I supported myself (during one phase) as a graduate assistant working in the university insect museum -- think tens of thousands of insects on pins (mostly) or in vials of alcohol -- that had been ID'ed down to at least genus and sometimes to species. I was told by my supervisor to pick a group -- I chose solitary bees -- and work on identifying the newer ones that were preserved but not ID'ed below family name. I spent a couple of years trying to ID bees to the species level. Rarely did I succeed, even with very significant training in taxonomy and identification procedures, and often had to ship them off to an expert, mostly in the Smithsonian.

It's hard enough for even trained entomologist to ID to family or genus. But to get the species right often (usually?) requires an expert in that particular family or genus. It's very tedious work, but important in cases like this.
Your link doesn't question the identification of the species. It only says the WA and Vancouver Island examples were not genetic matches, so not from the same hive.

Anne LeBrun, the national policy manager for honeybee and pollinator pest programs in the US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the department confirmed one identification of the Asian giant hornet specimen and was working with the Washington State Department of Agriculture "to determine how far this pest has spread."
 

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They found one in Blaine, WA. The folks involved in the elimination felt it came from British Columbia where a bunch of them were eradicated. The same group is not too concerned that this will spread, but ask for any reports or sightings.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
Good point. I stand corrected. But -- hypothesis -- the genetic divergence in samples might be caused by more than different hives. (? -- It's late on Friday night, I'm eating fresh, homemade cornbread -- finally nailed the recipe with duck fat and butter -- and I'm heading to Netflix next. Uhtred of Bebbenborough could take care of this issue quickly.)

Your link doesn't question the identification of the species. It only says the WA and Vancouver Island examples were not genetic matches, so not from the same hive.

Anne LeBrun, the national policy manager for honeybee and pollinator pest programs in the US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the department confirmed one identification of the Asian giant hornet specimen and was working with the Washington State Department of Agriculture "to determine how far this pest has spread."
 

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Good point. I stand corrected. But -- hypothesis -- the genetic divergence in samples might be caused by more than different hives. (? -- It's late on Friday night, I'm eating fresh, homemade cornbread -- finally nailed the recipe with duck fat and butter -- and I'm heading to Netflix next. Uhtred of Bebbenborough could take care of this issue quickly.)
No idea if the genetic divergence between the two sets is normal intraspecies variation, but it is at least evidence that it isn't spread of a colony to new territory. A few solitary hornets is a lot less of a concern than an actual nesting colony spawning new colonies.

Invasive pests are a common part of international shipping. Protocols are supposed to limit the impact (e.g. pallets are supposed to be kiln-dried or chemically treated to prevent stowaways), and the article does mention that this is not the only case of Asian Giant Hornets hitching a ride.
 

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Murder hornet memes abound and I’m easily amused.

The leaders of both parties ponder their response to the murder hornet invasion.
143176

143177
 

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Discussion Starter #58

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My son was based near Tokyo (Air Force) almost ten years ago. All the hype created by our media here pisses him off. They were over there all along, and you just deal with them as we do any bee. Large...yes. Hurt...sure. But invasive?......what insect is not, given free reign?
As usual. It's nothing more than more news media hype. They were there in Asia when I was there back in the 70's. NOT a big deal then.
 

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Discussion Starter #60
I'm putting final touches on a major project that I've been working on nearly constantly for weeks. (A video to help me raise remaining funds to purchase an ATV.) So I still haven't had time to thoroughly and carefully read that article I posted above from Business Insider reporting that the MH's are not really invading. But from the discussion here, I get the gist of it. If I understand correctly, the claim is that the ones found here in the US (far NW) are loaners that hitched over in cargo, and that no nests or colonies have been located. That would indeed be great news.

I do intend to read it -- this is at least an interesting story with a side of science (my kind: biology/ecology). For example, for a colony to spread here requires more than just a single hornet. Most of the workers are female, but sterile. All stinging hymenoptera are females since the stinger is an ovipositor -- an egg laying tube -- that's been modified by evolution into a venom injecting tube. So those workers cannot and do not reproduce. That's what the queen does, her only job. So the only way to spread the colony is to get a queen with eggs along with at least a small group of workers to build a nest and feed the larvae to the new location. It's hard to imagine how that could happen in a shipping mistake.

But this story also says something interesting about how our society reacts to threats or potential threats from nature.
 
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