Asian Hornet Populations Are Growing While Honey Bee Populations Are Decreasing
Although honey bee populations are no longer decreasing at record numbers around the world, the plight facing the world’s bees may not be over. There are a variety of reasons as to why the past decade has seen a dramatic decrease in bee populations, and one of these reasons is, simply put, the Asian hornet.
In Europe there exists many native hornets, sadly, Europe now has to deal with the negative consequences caused by these enormous predatory, and overtly aggressive Asian hornets. The most alarming aspect of these invasive hornets is their taste for honey bees. Asian hornets have been killing mass amounts of honey bees within Europe for several years now. Unfortunately, there is evidence to suggest that Asian hornets have already invaded the United States, where they will drive down American honey bee populations, and make the lives of beekeepers much more difficult.
Asian hornets first arrived in Europe in 2004 via a shipment of pottery that arrived in France from China. Since then Asian hornets have moved onto to infesting other European countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. Soon, if not already, Asian hornets will be killing honey bees within America. These hornets can even kill human beings, and fatalities resulting from these hornet stings are not necessarily rare.
According to Professor Matt Keeling, from Warwick’s Zeeman Institute for Systems Biology & Infectious Disease Epidemiology Research, if the UK does not take drastic action to prevent the spread of Asian hornets, hundreds of thousands of these hornets could infest the UK within two decades. This could put other countries at risk of invasion. The high amount of Asian hornets could potentially kill nearly all of Britain’s honey bee populations, resulting in economic devastation to agricultural industries. According to Keeling, the public must be educated enough to identify these hornets. Doing so would not be difficult, since Asian hornets are, by far, the largest hornets in existence. Hopefully the American government is prepared for a possible Asian hornet invasion within the US.
Do you believe an Asian hornet invasion in the US is likely? If these monster-hornets did arrive in the US, do you believe that they would proliferate, or die out?