Beekeeper says there are other concerns besides the Yellow-Legged Hornet

Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 4:20 PM EDT
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BULLOCH COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - A discovery in Savannah has many concerned statewide and beyond. A species of hornet could pose long term issues for Georgia’s crops.

As Georgia agriculture scientists declare war on this invasive species, one local beekeeper says he’s got more urgent battles to fight.

Georgia’s agriculture commissioner and scientists from the University of Georgia confirmed the first Yellow-Legged Hornet found in America was located in Georgia...Savannah to be specific.

They’re concerned this invasive species could impact insects like honey bees and other pollinators that help grow many of Georgia’s vital crops.

“We’re working on a plan to track, trap, and eradicate the Yellow-legged Hornet in the State of Georgia,” said Commissioner Seth Harper with the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Beekeepers like Ed DiNello says the fight is important, but it would take generations for the hornet to multiply to the point they have an impact.

“Every time you turn around, there’s another invasive plant or species that finds its way to the United States,” said Ed DiNello, beekeeper.

He says the more pressing issue for bees is man-made - the insecticides used to kill pests like mosquitos.

“I understand mosquitos carry disease and other problems, but mosquito sprayers do not discriminate against what insect or spider or even bird that they kill.”

He’s glad the state is focused on the hornet to hopefully keep the species from becoming a problem.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture is asking people to report potential sightings of the hornet. They have an online form where for locals to upload a picture of the bug or description, as well as information such as the location of the sighting.