We should be very afraid, but not of being stung. Even if you live in an area where Asian Giant Hornets live, you should have little fear of being stung. These hornets do not get aggressive with humans unless they are being disturbed. So, just walking by a few will not provoke any response.
What you should be afraid of is two-fold. First, they are an invasive species and second, insect populations are in grave danger and their health is directly related to our survival.
As an invasive species, if these wasps prosper they will displace native species and alter the local environment in unknown ways. Because native species have had time to adapt and develop, they have become an integral part of their environment. Newly introduced species can wreck havoc. They can have an impact on more than just other hornets and wasps. They affect the natural order of things and disrupt food chains for other animals including us. For example, Asian Giant Hornets can ravage honey bee populations and, well, you see the connection.
A much bigger and scarier threat that should make you fear for our very survival is that insects are disappearing at a devastating rate and this could wipe out our species. Studies show that insect populations have dropped anywhere from 40% to 75% in just three or four decades. This incredible extinction event is happening during our lifetime. For the health of our children and future generations it is imperative that we reverse this trend.
Why this is happening is complex. The simple answer is that we are poisoning our planet. There is not enough room here to go in to the many ways we are killing our hope for a healthy future but some of the reasons are directly related to how we grow and distribute our food.
For plants, mono-culture, pesticides, herbicides and so much more are major factors. For meat supply, factory farming and the general inhumane treatment of animals are also major factors. Add to this the fact that we are shipping our food great distances and you can see why we are in this situation.
Like the reasons for our predicament, the solutions are also complex and there is no simple answer. As a start, we can begin to change our diets by replacing meat with more plant and insect based foods. And, we can buy local as much as possible.
On the replacing meat front, adding insects to your diet is a good alternative. Edible insects offer protein with all nine essential amino acids, they are a prebiotic fiber, high in antioxidants, a perfect Omega 3:6 balance, high in B12, Calcium, Zinc, Iron and more.
Billions of people worldwide eat insects and it’s not because they are desperate. Our southern neighbor, Mexico, enjoys nearly 200 different edible insects. Thailand has over 20,000 insect farms and one of Cambodia’s top exports is edible insects. The Mopane Worm is considered a delicacy in Zimbabwe, the Witchety Grub in Australia, Queen Ants in Columbia. It’s obvious that here in the United States and Canada, we’re the ones missing out.
If we’re willing to stretch our minds a bit, we could even begin using food waste to grow insects as food and feed. In fact, you can grow insects at home on your meal’s left-overs. A healthy food source that can be grown year round.
Attitudes towards eating insects are changing as science begins to show us the significant health and environmental benefits of insects as food and feed. Coupled with the concern over factory farms and inhumane treatment of livestock, edible insects makes sense.
So, the answer is yes. We should be very afraid. PLEASE SHARE: If we continue on the course we’re on, Murder Hornets will be the least of our worries.
Originally published at https://www.entoblog.com on May 18, 2020.