You may have recently heard something about “murder hornets”, an invasive species to the United States that has been making headlines this month. The real name for this insect is the “Asian giant hornet” but in typical fashion, it has been given a more threatening name in the headlines to grab everyone’s attention.
To be fair, these Asian giant hornets are no joke and are actually capable of killing a human being, and they are also a major threat to honeybee populations, which are already dangerously low. In fact, this is how the invasive species was first discovered in Washington state.
According to the New York Times, an entire hive of bees was destroyed back in November and the bees were found decapitated. A short time after, two Asian giant hornets were found just a few miles north near Blaine, near the U.S.-Canadian border. After that incident, scientists and residents were on the lookout for the species, and then two were spotted last week in Washington State, sparking panic after the sightings were reported.
So far, these hornets have only been seen in Washington, but people all over the country are concerned. For the very small and specific area in the pacific northwest where these hornets have been seen, experts have advised local residents to set up traps and destroy any nests before they can grow. However, this can be dangerous because there is no way to only target these hornets without also targeting other insects, so the traps that people are setting up could end up accidentally killing other vulnerable insects.
Doug Yanega, senior museum scientist for the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside told the LA Times that these insects aren’t as threatening as they appear to be, and reminded reporters that the “murder hornets” have not created an armageddon in Asia yet, and they have been there hundreds of years, but they do represent a danger to other insects as an invasive species.
The national panic has led to the needless slaughter of native wasps and bees, beneficial insects whose populations are already threatened, said Yanega.
“Millions and millions of innocent native insects are going to die as a result of this.” Yanega said.
Yanega explained that these hornets are a force to be reckoned with, but they should not be a concern for people across the entire country.
“I don’t want to downplay this — they are logistically dangerous insects. But having people in Tennessee worry about this is just ridiculous. The only people who should be bothering experts with concerns about wasp IDs are living in the northwest quadrant of Washington (state). And really, right now, nobody else in the country should even be thinking about this stuff,” he said.
“Folks in China, Korea and Japan have lived side by side with these hornets for hundreds of years, and it has not caused the collapse of human society there. My colleagues in Japan, China and Korea are just rolling their eyes in disbelief at what kind of snowflakes we are.” He added.
Unfortunately, humans have a strange way of making bad situations worse, especially when we try to interfere with nature.
Police Rescue Dogs Trapped In Car on Sizzling Hot Day, Owners Complain About Broken Window
Police in the UK acted quickly to save a two dogs locked inside a car in sizzling hot temperatures by smashing open a window, upsetting the car’s owner over the damage.
Officers responded Sunday to reports that a beagle and another dog were trapped in a car parked in the seaside British city of Brighton on a day of boiling heat.
In video captured of the incident, an officer can be seen jamming his baton through a rear window before finally shattering it to free the pooches.
This prompts the car alarm to go off as the car’s owners can be seen rushing toward it, upset over the police intervention.
A woman, standing with her shocked family, says: “You broke my window out!”
One of the officer responded: “It’s a hot day. You shouldn’t be leaving the dog in the car in this weather.”
The incident happened on a day when people across the region flock to the seaside resort city to dip into the beaches amid surging hot temperatures.
The onlooker who filmed the incident noted that the owners seemed unaware of the dangers posed to their pets by weather conditions.
“Where they had parked there is just no shade,” they told The Sun. “It’s directly on the seafront in 25°C (77°F) weather outside – I’ve got no idea what it was inside the car.”
The family was indignant over what they claim was an overreaction by the police.
“At first it was ‘what the f*** are you doing, why did you break my car window? I was only gone for 10 minutes,’” another witness explained.
“The bloke obviously thought he was completely in the right,” they added. “He didn’t really seem to have much empathy.”
According to UK animal welfare group RSPCA, outside temperatures of 22°C (71°F) can reach a brutal 47°C (116.6°F) inside a car within an hour.
“Police officers attended and tried to get a contact number for the owners of the car but were unable,” a Sussex Police spokesperson said. “Officers had no choice but to smash the side window to gain access and a kind member of the public donated a bottle of water.”
Authorities added that the officers let the pet owners off with a stern warning, without ticketing the family or separating their dogs from them.
Golden Retriever Filmed Giving Woodchuck Ride Across Massachusetts Lake
There are some occasions when the natural world resembles something we might think belongs to the realm of Disney films but no – it’s simply the animal kingdom in motion.
Such was the case when a dog owner captured amazing footage of her dog giving a ride to a small rodent across a lake in Massachusetts.
Lauren Russel was with her dog, Wally the golden retriever, at Hickory Hills Lake in Lunenburg last month when the dog encountered a woodchuck in the water.
So Wally did one any good dog of his breed would do – he gave his new friend a ride back to shore.
“He was about 100 meters out and a woodchuck, I think, just crawled right up on his back and he swam back to shore with him,” Russell told WCVB on Monday.
She always knew that her Wally was a friendly pooch, but she never imagined something like this.
“We were flabbergasted. It was unbelievable. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing,” Russell continued.
To top things off, once they arrived onshore, Wally and his fast friend gave each other what appeared to be a kiss.
“They like touched snouts and then he ran away,” Russell said.
You can watch the video of the touching event here:
Tiny Creature Frozen for 24,000 Years is Brought Back to Life
A microscopic creature has come back to life and reproduced asexually after 24,000 years of lying dormant in the permafrost of Siberia.
Russian scientists found the tiny freshwater creature, called the bdelloid rotifer, in the rich soil of the Alazeya river of Russia’s far northern Siberan region of Yakutia.
The multicellular organism is common throughout the world and is known to be extremely resilient, capable of surviving extreme cold, dryness, starvation and low oxygen.
While previous research found that it could survive a decade when frozen at -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit), the new study published by the journal Current Biology offers a stunning testimony of the survivability of the tiny animal – which is by far the longest survival period known of any creature in the world.
“Our report is the hardest proof as of today that multicellular animals could withstand tens of thousands of years in cryptobiosis, the state of almost completely arrested metabolism,” said Stas Malavin, an author of the study, in a statement.
Malavin’s Soil Cryology Lab in Pushchino, Russia, used a drilling rig to extract the miniscule organism from roughly a dozen feet below the remote Arctic location.
Once the ancient organism thawed, it reproduced on its own through a process of parthenogenesis. Researchers then found that it could withstand repeatedly being frozen and thawed dozens of times due to its innate processes of cell and organ protection.
“The takeaway is that a multicellular organism can be frozen and stored as such for thousands of years and then return back to life – a dream of many fiction writers,” Malavin said.
“Of course, the more complex the organism, the trickier it is to preserve it alive frozen and, for mammals, it’s not currently possible,” the scientist added. “Yet, moving from a single-celled organism to an organism with a gut and brain, though microscopic, is a big step forward.”
Researchers hope that the knowledge gleaned from studying the microscopic organism will bring further insights on how to preserve animals’ cells, tissues and organs – including those belonging to human beings.
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