I find invasive species fascinating. The earth is so big and it’s been here for so long that it seems absurd that a single human could introduce a non-native species to an area and have it affect the entire ecosystem. Over the last few years, there have been plenty of headlines about various invasive species: kudzu has been taking over the South for decades, domestic pythons are wreaking havoc in the Everglades, Joro spiders are practically everywhere in Georgia. It’s so interesting to watch these species interact with the native ones and see how everything plays out. One potentially dangerous invasive species in Georgia has been in the news lately, and I’ve got to say, the stories certainly sound scary! A murder hornet’s relative was recently spotted on multiple occasions near Savannah. I love all animals and am even fond of insects, but this is one I’ll probably be steering clear of.

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Please note that there are several native species of wasp that do not harm pollinators that look quite similar to the Asian hornet/yellow-legged hornet. If you think that you have spotted an Asian hornet in Georgia, keep your distance and obtain photographs if possible. The Georgia Department of Agriculture requests that those believing they have seen this invasive species in Georgia to fill out a Yellow-Legged Hornet Watch Form and include photos if possible.

Invasive species or not, one thing’s sure about life in Georgia: we’re sure to encounter some insects! Next time you’re heading out for a stroll through the woods, make sure to bring along some After Bite from REI to make sure you’re prepared.

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