WSU scientists enlist citizens in hunt for giant, bee-killing hornet

Image of Asian giant hornet.

(Washington State University) In the first-ever sightings in the U.S., the Washington State Department of Agriculture verified two reports and received two unconfirmed reports of the Asian giant hornet late last year. WSDA scientists are now working with WSU researchers, beekeepers and citizens to find, trap and eradicate the pest. At home in the forests and low mountains of eastern and southeast Asia, the hornet feeds on large insects, including native wasps and bees. In Japan, it devastates the European honey bee, which has no effective defense.

What is the Asian hornet invasion going to cost Europe?

Map showing spread of Asian hornet.

(EurekAlert/Pensoft Publishers) Since its accidental introduction in 2003 in France, the yellow-legged Asian hornet is rapidly spreading through Europe. Within its native and invasive range, the hornet actively preys on honeybees. Due to its active praying on wild insects, the Asian hornet also has a negative impact on ecosystems in general and contributes to the global decline of pollination services and honey production. In a recent study, French scientists tried to evaluate the first estimated control costs for this invasion.

Aussie scientists need your help keeping track of bees (please)

Image of African carder bee on flower.

(The Conversation) “We need the public’s help to identify the bees in Australian backyards. There’s a good chance some are not native, but are unwanted exotic species. Identifying new intruders before they become established will help protect our native species.” You don’t need to be sure exactly what species you’ve seen. All you need to do is take clear, high-resolution photos and share them on a citizen science platform like iNaturalist.

UK insects struggling to find a home make a bee-line for foreign plants

Image of Burnet moth on non-native flower.

(University of York) Researchers at the University of York discovered that foreign plants – often found in gardens and parks – were supporting communities of British insects, including pollinators. For example, solitary bees were found visiting the flowers of non-native agave-leaved sea holly plants. Not surprisingly, however, the greatest numbers and diversity of insects were typically found on native plant species. “It is important to ensure that at least a third of plants are native, as the research suggests that these plants provide the best home for most insects. However, the presence of some non-native plants may help provide a home for unusual or rare British insects that may be struggling to find a home on our native plants.”

Turkish bee survives 1,850-mile trip to Britain in suitcase – but could pose risk to local native bees

Image of bee on ledge.

(The Sun) Osmia avosetta bees, which are commonly found in the Middle East, are known for their unique nests made from flower petals. The family contacted the British Beekeepers Association which then alerted the UK’s environmental authority, Defra, and the National Bee Unit. A spokesperson from the association said, “Non-native species like this bee pose several problems and need to be controlled. They may carry viruses that will wipe out native species or they may simply out-compete similar species for food sources.”