Saturday, May 9, 2020

Seth Meyers tells 'murder hornets' 'not now' while LiveScience stresses the threat to bees

Seven years ago, I wrote "here is some scary biodiversity for you all, a potential invasive species I can frighten my students with: Giant hornets killing dozens in China." Asian Giant Hornets are no longer "a potential invasive species," they're an actual invasive species here in the U.S. That prompted a lot of sensational coverage as a change of pace during the COVID-19 pandemic. I engaged in a little of that on Twitter, tweeting "I wondered why there were giant wasps and hornets in the Final Fantasy games. Then I read about these things and understood." Now I will definitely scare my students with them this semester!

Seth Meyers was having none of it. Watch Not Now, Murder Hornets.

Seth takes a moment to ask Asian giant hornets, or "murder hornets," to give us all a break as we’re busy dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
In his monologue, Seth does a good job of placing the threat in the context of the pandemic and official response in addition to the "now what" reaction to one more thing to worry about. Fortunately, as scary as Asian Giant Hornets are, they are mostly a threat to honeybees. LiveScience emphasizes that point in "Murder Hornets" Massacre Honey Bees, Not Humans FYI.

Sightings in Washington state of Asian giant hornets* raise concerns that the enormous insects may be settling in North America. Live Science Senior Writer Mindy Weisberger tells the tale of how "Murder Hornets" got their name and what's going on with our new visitors:
* not yellowjackets aka "American Hornets" which are only a 1/2-inch vs 2-inch length, and not European #hornets are also smaller than their giant Asian cousins, and do not attack bees as a group ~The more you know~ about #asiangianthornets
While they are less of a threat to humans than they seem — 50 dead per year out of the approximately three billion people in the countries where it is native does not seem impressive compared to the average of 62 Americans dying every year from bee, wasp, and hornet stings with a population one-tenth that size; Giant Asian Hornets might add an average of 5-10 each year to that total if fatalities are proportional to population — they are a real threat to bees. That makes them an indirect threat to humans because of the importance of honeybees to agriculture. Oh, boy, one more thing to include in this year's World Bee Day on May 20th.

Enough of the potential threat from murder hornets today. Stay tuned for a celebration of Mother's Day.

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