Everyone has been talking about the rise of a new Asian giant hornet that has recently been spotted in the U.S.A. Though the pest has only been caught in Washington so far, other states are preparing for the arrival of "murder hornets," including Texas. It has just been announced that the state will be creating its own murder hornet task force to protect its citizens from the invasive species.
At the recent request from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a new task force focused on stopping the entry of murder hornets into the Lone Star State will be formed.
Texas A&M AgriLife released a statement about the new task force, explaining that a team of experts is preparing an initiative to keep Texans safe along with protecting local agriculture and honey bees.
If the feared murder hornet, or Asian giant hornet, arrives, there will be a variety of issues that the state will have to face, so stopping the pest before they get into the state is key.
The invasive insect can get up to 2 inches long, making it a bit larger than the “cicada killer” wasp that's typically found in Texas. Its size is what makes it so deadly for other bees and for humans.
The task force's plan will try to catch the hornet at the borders with special techniques to spot them in any transporting cargo.
Greg Pompelli, Ph.D., director of the Center for Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense said in the statement that their team is “developing training for Customs and Border Protection staff to be able to detect the Asian giant hornet."
Very proud to be an Aggie today! You are telling me that @tamu is involved with a late-stage, phase 4, clinical tri… https://t.co/VzxabwObJU— Mary Leigh Meyer (@Mary Leigh Meyer)1588859171.0
The task force will also be "increasing surveillance of incoming containers and evaluating opportunities for specialized detection, such as possibly using scent-trained dogs to find these hornets hidden in cargo or luggage.”
Along with trying to stop the hornets at the source, the team will be educating citizens and beekeepers about the pest, initiating hornet detection techniques for border and port-of-entry points, and will be making efforts to keep Texas honey bee populations safe.
The Asian Murder Hornet is cancelled. https://t.co/MViHlIiw71— Benny (@Benny)1588861333.0
The murder hornets have not yet been spotted in Texas, and this new task force will do its best to make sure they never are.