Lawmaker offers bill to eradicate Asian 'murder hornets' found in US

Lawmaker offers bill to eradicate Asian 'murder hornets' found in US
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One lawmaker is looking to fight the invasion of giant “murder hornets” with legislation that sets aside funding to battle the insect that recently appeared in Washington state.

The hornets, whose queen can grow up to two inches long, arrived in the U.S. from Asia and pose a grave risk to the native bee populations they would feed on. 

The Murder Hornet Eradication Act from House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-A.Z.) would set aside $4 million a year for the next four years in grant funding for states. 

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“We’re learning, painfully and repeatedly, that we can’t just ignore the natural world or treat it as an enemy to be defeated,” Grijalva said in a release announcing the legislation.

“We have to more intelligently and actively manage our relationship with wildlife from now on. This bill is about getting a head start on an obvious problem before it’s too late, which is the approach we need to be taking rather than relying on denial and anti-scientific magical thinking.”

The hornets utilize their mandibles, which are shaped like spiked shark fins, to decapitate worker bees, clearing hives within hours and feeding honeybee thoraxes to their offspring.

Bees pollinate a third of U.S. crops, an important part of the food supply chain that contributes an estimated $15 billion in value to the agriculture industry.

They are also considered an indicator for how human activity affects the environment. They have already faced years of declining populations, with pesticides and climate change cited as possible causes.

The most recent data from the Bee Informed Partnership found that commercial bee hives lost more than a quarter of their populations over the winter.

The hornets also pose a risk to humans, and in Japan they have killed up to 50 people a year.

Victims have described the sting, which can break through beekeeper suits, as feeling like hot metal being driven through the skin.