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Gov. Abbott Starts Task Force To Combat Possible Arrival Of 'Murder Hornet' In Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has launched a task force that will look to combat a possible arrival of the so-called "murder hornet" that has grabbed national attention since its recent sighting in Washington state.

The task force is expected to be led by Texas A&M AgriLife experts in order to keep Texans informed and keep honey bees safe from this predator.

According to experts, the Asian giant hornet, or "murder hornet" is known to prey on honey bees, which can greatly affect fruit and vegetable crop production.

Experts also said the hornet's stings can be painful and even fatal for people who are allergic.

Murder hornet
Asian giant hornet, aka "murder hornet" (Credit: Washington State Department of Agriculture)

The hornets have garnered attention after they were recently spotted in Washington state. It's currently unknown how the hornets arrived in the U.S, but experts believe a fertilized female hornet may have been transported via a cargo ship or airplane.

"Although this pest has not been spotted in Texas, the hornet poses a threat to both agriculture and public health," said Patrick J. Stover, Ph.D., vice chancellor of Texas A&M AgriLife. "Because of this, we are bringing to bear the diverse expertise and knowledge base that exists within Texas A&M AgriLife to collaborate with federal partners and extension agents across the country to protect our state and the global food supply."

One of the ways experts are combating any kind of possible arrival is by watching state entry points for cargo.

"We are developing training for Customs and Border Protection staff to be able to detect the Asian giant hornet. We are also increasing surveillance of incoming containers and evaluating opportunities for specialized detection, such as possibly using scent-trained dogs to find these hornets hidden in cargo or luggage," said Greg Pompelli, Ph.D., director of the Center for Cross Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense.

For more info on the task force's plans, click here.

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