Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today introduced the Murder Hornet Eradication Act, which directs new funding to states to eradicate the Asian giant hornet and restore bee populations the invasive species has already damaged. Formally, the bill requires the Secretary of the Interior to establish a grant program to provide financial assistance to states to eradicate the hornet.
The bill, available online at https://bit.ly/35OmpYD, is modeled on the Nutria Eradication and Control Act of 2003, which the House voted to update last year.
As multiple news outlets have already reported, bee populations across the U.S. are potentially in danger from the newly arrived “murder hornet,” which was first identified in the country last December by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).
The Washington State University Insider, in an April 6 profile on the university’s work to understand and contain the species’ outbreak, reported that while the Asian giant hornet’s life cycle begins in April, they “are most destructive in the late summer and early fall, when they are on the hunt for sources of protein to raise next year’s queens. They attack honey bee hives, killing adult bees and devouring bee larvae and pupae, while aggressively defending the occupied colony.”
While they do not typically attack people, “Multiple stings can kill humans, even if they are not allergic.”
As CBS News noted on May 5, the WSDA has warned that the hornet does not typically attack humans, “but if they do, not even beekeeping suits can protect against the hornets’ stingers, which are longer and more dangerous than a bee’s.”
Asian giant hornets in Japan have already decimated populations of European honey bees – the type most common in domesticated agriculture – because they have no natural defense against the more aggressive species. If Asian giant hornet growth is unchecked and they have a similar impact here, it could have a potentially severe impact on American agriculture, with popular crops such as apples, blueberries and cherries at risk of becoming infeasible to produce.
“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 today. “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.”
# # #
Stay in touch with Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee