POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Beekeepers in the pacific northwest are faced with a sticky situation. An invasive species of hornet has been spotted in Washington state, killing honey bees by the thousands.
"I'm genuinely concerned for pollinators who are already in trouble. There is concern that it could be even more detrimental for this group of organisms," ecology professor Dr. Josh Grinath said.
Their nickname is coined by their terrifying ability to wipe-out an entire beehive within the matter of hours. They grow up to two-inches in length and also produce 7X more venom than most other bees making them lethal to humans.
"These wasps are really big, they're the world's largest wasp,” Grinath said. “The workers are about an inch and a half in length, the queens are two inches or larger and they have a three-inch wingspan.” They also have a quarter-inch stinger that can pierce a beekeeper’s suit.
With an already declining bee population, local entomologists are worried about the pollinators that are so crucial to many crops. “They'll attack our honey bees and other native bees that are major pollinators. Many of them are a major element in pest control.”
Now, Washington state's Depart. of Agriculture is flying in to prevent the hornets from migrating outside the state. “There is a potential for this to expand into idaho.”
For more information on the department's response, you can visit their website by clicking HERE.