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Governor requests specialized task force to fight ‘murder hornet’

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) -Governor Greg Abbott has requested the formation of a specialized task force to protect Texans, agriculture and honeybees from the so-called “murder hornet.”

It hasn’t been seen in Texas, but there are reports that the Vespa Mandarinia has been attacking honeybee hives in Washington State and the hornet also was sighted late last year in Canada.  Without pollination from honeybees, crops would suffer, and experts say a sting from the Asian Giant Hornet can cause fatal allergic reactions to people who are sensitive to bee stings.

At the request of the governor, a task force will include experts from Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, the Texas A&M Department of Entomology and the Center for Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense.

It’s not known how the Asian giant hornet arrived in NorthAmerica, but experts believe a fertilized female hornet could have been in a cargo container or airplane.

“Part of our response is preparing our state entry points for cargo transportation,” said Greg Pompelli, Ph.D., director of the Center for Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense. “We are developing training for Customs and Border Protection staff to be able to detect the Asian giant hornet.

They also are stepping up surveillance of incoming containers and may possibly use dogs to sniff out hornets hidden in cargo or luggage.

The task force also will provide education on the murder hornets for beekeepers and everyday Texans.  The AgriLife team will also work to protect honeybees.

YouTube star Coyote Peterson showed what it’s like to be stung by a murder hornet.  It didn’t take long for his arm to swell up like a balloon.



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