March 1, 2016. Buzzkill: Deadly hornets set to invade UK, chop up bees, experts warn. rt.com
A dangerous group of insect invaders accused of killing six people in France are now heading to the UK, wildlife experts have cautioned. Asian hornets could devastate England’s dwindling bee population, as they are known to kill up to 50 honey bees per day, mainly by chopping them up and feeding them to their larvae. “It is feared that it is just a matter of time before it reaches our shores,” according to Camilla Keane of the Wildlife and Countryside group. She said in a statement that hornets will be incredibly difficult and costly to tackle once they arrive, causing “significant environmental and economic damage”. The aggressive predator first arrived in France 12 years ago via pottery and quickly spread to Portugal, Italy, and Belgium. It is expected to soon reach northern France where it could easily spread across a channel. From April onwards, the hornets produce eggs and don’t stop until the hive population peaks at around 6,000 insects. Bees are estimated to contribute £651m ($908m) a year to the UK economy as honey-producing slaves.
María Virginia Parachú Marcó. 2015. Red Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) Effects on Broad-Snouted Caiman Nest Success. Journal of Herpetology 49(1):70-74.
Argentinian fire ants are held in check by native predators. But in the USA where no natural predators exist, they could kill 70% of turtle hatchlings in Florida, and they’ve been caught eating snakes, lizards, birds, and even deer fawns who freeze when in danger, giving the ants the chance to attack.