Invasive yellow-legged hornet detected in SC
The finding was confirmed by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
JASPAR COUNTY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Clemson University officials are asking the public to report large hornets after an invasive yellow-legged hornet was trapped in Jasper County last week.
The hornet was captured on Nov. 9 and confirmed by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on Nov. 16.
This is the first known detection of the hornet (Vespa velutina) in South Carolina, after Georgia officials reported a Savannah-area sighting in August.
“South Carolina has a robust beekeeping industry and an enthusiastic beekeeping hobbyist community. Bees are also essential to the state’s agriculture industry and the safety of our food supply as pollinators. This is why it is so important that South Carolina citizens remain vigilant and report sightings,” said Steven Long, assistant director, Clemson Department of Plant Industry (DPI).
According to officials, the detection does not necessarily indicate that yellow-legged hornets have established habitat in the state, hornets know no borders and the Low Country’s proximity to Savannah is giving officials cause for concern. As a result, Clemson DPI will be enhancing its current trapping efforts in the area, will work with federal officials to confirm suspected specimens and will respond to active hornet colonies if they are located.
The yellow-legged hornet is no more harmful to humans than other hornets, but it can have a devastating impact on both managed and wild bees.
“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.”
Clemson officials are urging anyone who suspects they have spotted a yellow-legged hornet to report their findings here.
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