Posted tagged ‘invasive species’

“Murder Hornets” Are Here!

May 4, 2020

Just when you thought that 2020 didn’t have much left to throw at us, we have a new horror. They’re big, and frankly they don’t look real…but Asian Giant Hornets (Vespa mandarinia) appropriately nicknamed Murder Hornets, are a thing, and they’re invading North America… 🙀

Not to be confused with killer bees (so very yesterday), Murder Hornets are an invasive species native to Japan that have crossed over the Canadian border into the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., where they’ve been found in the state of Washington. An impressive two inches in size, Murder Hornets pose a serious threat to already beleaguered honeybee populations, which they can decimate within hours. These giant aggressive hornets bite off the heads of bees, then kind of mash up the thorax of their victims to take home to feed to their larvae. It all sounds like a bad SyFy channel movie…perhaps a script begs to be written for Killer Bees vs. Murder Hornets (No Matter Who Wins, We Lose)!

Now Murder Hornets have a stinger long enough to penetrate a typical beekeeper’s protective outfit, and the sting of multiple insects can be as lethal as snake venom. About 50 people are killed annually in Japan from the hornets, whose sting is likened by victims to having hot metal driven into the flesh. Experts advise, “Don’t try to take them out yourself if you see them. If you get into them, run away, then call us!” Sounds prudent to me, but the running away part might not be easy; they can fly at 25 mph. Serious efforts are underway to track and limit the spread of the insects before it’s too late…

It’s said that the hornets don’t ordinarily attack humans unless threatened. Be careful not to do this, knowing that the right lawyer could probably get a Murder Hornet charge downgraded to a Manslaughter Hornet offense… 🦊

 

Take the Python Challenge?

December 31, 2012

python– – As if the ants at picnics weren’t enough, a family from Arkansas out for a picnic in the Everglades National Park in Florida was rudely interrupted by a 17-foot Burmese python slithering into their picnic area!  That could ruin your whole day, or at least your appetite.  The family caught the massive snake on camera, and a park ranger killed it.

Pythons are an invasive species in the United States, where the growing population of the snakes in Florida have devastated rabbit, fox, possum, and bobcat populations; even deer and alligators are not safe from them!  In January, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will host a 2013 “Python Challenge” to control the expanding python population, with a grand prize of $1,500 going to the person who kills the most pythons, and $1,000 going to the person who kills the longest specimen.  Where else but Florida, however, can you encounter a shark, a gator, a giant snake, and go to Disney World all in the same week?!

Scotland Invaded!

February 26, 2011

– – Scotland has been overrun by vicious invaders, and their goal is to kill them all!  Once the invaders are driven out of Scotland, plans are to drive them out of the whole of Britain.

Now this isn’t a William Wallace thing and Mel Gibson is nowhere to be seen,  but it’s rather a campaign against American minks brought to Britain in the 1950’s to be farmed for fur coats.  Now running wild by the tens of thousands, the minks are wrecking havoc on other native species, including birds, fish, frogs, and the beloved water vole!   About 95% of the water voles are gone, thanks in large measure to the minks.   Scottish novelist Kenneth Grahame used a water vole named Ratty as a main character in his children’s book, The Wind in the Willows.

Considered an invasive species, the minks are usually trapped and then shot.  While this sounds cruel, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says the process is humane and necessary in order to protect Scotland’s ecosystem.  To quote Ratty the water vole, “It’s my world.  I don’t want any other.