SOUTH CAROLINA (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A large and invasive yellow-legged hornet has been detected in South Carolina, according to officials with Clemson University.
It is the first known detection of the hornet in South Carolina. Officials in Georgia reported a sighting in Savannah in August, Clemson said. The detection was in Jasper County, SC.
The hornet can have a devastating impact on managed and wild bees. This particular hornet is different than the northern giant hornet, officials cautioned.
“South Carolina has a robust beekeeping industry and an enthusiastic beekeeping hobbyist community,” said Steven Long, assistant director at Clemson Department of Plant Industry (DPI). “Bees are also essential to the state’s agriculture industry and the safety of our food supply as pollinators. This is why it is so important that South Carolina citizens remain vigilant and report sightings.”
It is still unclear if the southeast Asia native hornet has established a habitat in the state, officials said.
“The yellow-legged hornet is a predatory insect that has been reported to attack western honeybee colonies and has become a serious pest of beekeeping operations where it has been introduced,” said Ben Powell, who directs Clemson Cooperative Extension’s Apiary and Pollinator program. “Establishment of this exotic pest in the U.S. would pose a significant threat to our already embattled beekeeping enterprises.”
Nests are known to house an average of 6,000 workers and are often built above ground.