May 12, 2020
The cure may be worse than the problem, according to at least one scientist.
While we have been reporting on “murder hornets” since 2018, the mainstream media has only recently grabbed onto this story and it has done so in a massive way. Initially, the insect was called by its informal name, the Asian giant hornet. However, after videos started to surface recently of how this massive insect goes about its business, the hornet has been dubbed the “murder hornet,” which makes for far better headlines and quite a bit of excitement and/or fear about the insect.
Once the murder hornet tag caught on, only the worst of the insect was being touted. Pundits throughout the country were chiming in that hornet would make the honey bee extinct in a heartbeat. To be honest, we reported some of those reports here to give a well-rounded outlook without realizing a large majority of these reports have been contributing to the hysteria around the country.
Even though there has only been minimal citing of the hornet here in the United States, people are now reacting as though the hornets have already set up shop and are more prominent than the honey bee itself. The panic that is engulfing the country over this insect now has people setting up traps to protect themselves against the hornet. There is one problem, though, and that is the traps they are setting are just as attractive to honey bees as they would be the Asian giant hornet.
Doug Yanega, senior museum scientist for the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside, stated, “Millions and millions of innocent native insects are going to die as a result of this. Folks in China, Korea and Japan have lived side by side with these hornets for hundreds of years, and it has not caused the collapse of human society there. My colleagues in Japan, China and Korea are just rolling their eyes in disbelief at what kind of snowflakes we are.”
By no means was Yanega trying to say these hornets are not a major threat, he is just suggesting that we need to pump the brakes on hitting that panic button just yet. He stated, “I don’t want to downplay this — they are logistically dangerous insects. But having people in Tennessee worry about this is just ridiculous. The only people who should be bothering experts with concerns about wasp IDs are living in the northwest quadrant of Washington (state). And really, right now, nobody else in the country should even be thinking about this stuff.”
Nature has a way of providing a natural defense against any foe. As we just reported last week, bees have a higher tolerance for heat, so their defense against the hornet is to lure the hornet into the hive than surround it with a swarm of bees. The bees then vibrate to create more heat than the hornet can stand, effectively cooking the hornet until it dies. So, rather than setting traps that are not needed at this time, perhaps people should just be on the lookout and report any sightings to the entomology department at the local university.
Source: The Hill