Killer hornets wreak havoc

Updated: 2013-10-16 07:43

By He Na (China Daily)

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Ecological imbalance

Yang Guanhuang said human are partly responsible for the plague of hornets. It's the result of the ecological imbalance and a sharp decline in the number of Chinese honeybees.

As part of an economy drive in the 1970s, farmers stopped breeding indigenous Chinese honeybees, preferring to breed the Western Honeybee, Apis Mellifera, which produces a higher volume of honey.

The increase in the number of these bees has resulted in the domestic variety being pushed to the edge of extinction.

Because farmers are concerned with higher honey yields, they often fail to pay attention to the negative aspects associated with European bees. While Chinese bees will pollinate every variety of flower they encounter, the European bees only favor large groups of plants that are rich in the sources of honey.

Without Chinese bees, many plants, especially rare flora, remain unpollinated. As more plants wither and become extinct, the numbers and varieties of pests have declined, which in turn has led directly to the birds abandoning farmland. Because birds are the hornets natural predators, their departure has resulted in a rise in the number of hornets. Increasing the numbers of Chinese honeybees would be a fundamental way of resolving the hornet problem, he added.

"The plague of hornets is just a small lesson that nature has taught us. Without the Chinese bees, our special mountain plant species will die out and that will affect every species in the food chain, including human beings. That's not hyperbole, it's just the truth".

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Zhang Yuchen and Peng Yining also contributed to this story.