Since the rise of global trade decades ago, invasive species have been a significant problem in the United States, affecting ecological and agricultural stability across the nation. In recent years on the northeastern United States, the Chinese spotted lantern fly has posed a serious threat to agriculture and arboricultural activities, damaging both domesticated and natural trees and plants alike. In the southeast, it appears that another threatening species may be on the rise. In early August, a yellow legged Asian hornet was discovered in Georgia.
The Latin name for the yellow legged Asian hornet is Vespa velutina; this species should not be conflated or confused with the related Asian giant hornet, or Vespa mandarinia (also known as the murder hornet). Regardless, scientists and agricultural officials fear that the hornet could pose a problem to farmers, wildlife, and in turn every aspect of the ecosystem alike. The hornet was initially discovered on August 9th by a beekeeper of native North American honeybees in Savannah. A troubling aspect of this discovery is that the hornet is a known threat to honeybees and other related native pollinators in the United States and the Americas at large.
The hornet discovered in the Peach state is the first known instance of the insect living alive in the open United States. Honeybees are defenseless against the hornet- and already have experienced significant population decline in the United States in recent years. These bees are essential to agricultural production and food sustainability at large. Without bees pollinating at a large rate, crop output markedly decreases. Farmers across the entire United States rely heavily on beekeepers and the bees they manage to ensure financial success for themselves and in turn an abundance of food for the general population. Honey products, wood finishes, and candles (beeswax) are other products directly and indirectly produced by bees. This discovery could have a large impact on many industries if allowed to worsen.