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False Alarm On 'Murder Hornets' In Florida

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) -- After suspected sightings, state agriculture officials said Thursday there is no evidence that so-called "murder hornets" are in Florida.

The Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services' Division of Plant Industry issued an "all-clear" about Asian giant hornets.

"With reports of suspected Asian giant hornet sightings in Florida, our department and the U.S. (Department of Agriculture) have confirmed that there is no evidence of this species in Florida," Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a prepared statement.

A news release from the department said the hornets, which feed on insects, sap, and soft fruits but rarely attack people or pets, have been found in part of Washington state.

The hornets also attack beehives, and their venom is highly toxic. "Our partners at the Washington State Department of Agriculture and the USDA are continuing to study and contain the Asian giant hornet to Washington state," Fried said.

"We have every reason to believe that these ongoing efforts will keep this invasive pest far away from Florida's residents and 650,000 honeybee colonies."

The news release said Asian giant hornets closely resemble native hornets and wasps in Florida.

(©2020 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida's contributed to this report.)

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