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Beekeepers Investigate 'Murder'Hornets' Crime Scene

Beekeepers Investigate 'Murder'Hornets' Crime Scene

Saturday, 27 June, 2020 - 06:30
Beekeeper handles a beehive's frame covered in bees at the Morava farm, in the village of Plasa, near the city of Korca, Albania on May 13, 2020. (AFP Photo).
London- Asharq Al-Awsat

In a heated race to protect North America's honeybees from a giant invader, amateur beekeepers and scientists do the whole Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) thing to stem the feared onslaught, according to The Guardian.

It took Moufida and John Holubeshen just a day of tracing alleged sightings and studying map coordinates before the two amateur detectives found their target.

"We did the whole CSI thing. Plotting points and drawing lines, searching for where the middle of the circle -the nest- would be," said Moufida.

The couple, like hundreds of other beekeepers in western Canada and the US, was hunting the Asian giant hornet, an invasive species whose stealthy advance throughout British Columbia and Washington is causing growing unease.

Scientists and apiarists fear that, if permitted to spread unchecked, the hornets, which feast on honeybee larvae, could have disastrous consequences for tens of thousands of hives.

The couple's investigation began last September, when word spread that hornets had been spotted on the outskirts of the city of Nanaimo where they live. Concerned for the safety of their four hives, they set out one evening towards the suspected nest location in a city park. As they walked along the trail, they heard a low, rumbling buzz overhead. Moments later John felt a sharp pain in his chest. He had just become one of the first people to be stung by a giant hornet in North America.

"It was like being hit by a bullet. It felt more like a bruised rib than a sting," he said. They fled the scene, but soon realized they would have to return. "My first thought was I've got to go back and get a sample or a photo because nobody's going to believe us," he said.

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