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June 23, 2008

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Christine

So, what ARE you allowed to do about hornets?

Luke

I'd suggest switching from Allegra to Zyrtech or its general-brand competitor there in Germany. I took the former until I tried the latter, and it's much more effective.

Noel Maurer

Yeah, what the hell /are/ you suppsed to do about the hornet? Like, seriously, you can't just leave it.

So how whopping is whopping? And why did you post about it here instead of just offing the damn thing w/o anyone knowing?

Doug M.

About an inch and a half long -- a bit more than twice as long as a honeybee, and eight or ten times as massive. Like a St. Bernard next to a beagle.

Oh, the /fine/. In theory, up to several thousand euros.

[shrug] I'm taking the chance that the Bavarian Endangered Insect Protection Corps is not reading my blog.


Doug M.

Noel Maurer

You live dangerously, sir.

Andrew R.

Question from the medievalist who has exactly two semesters of undergraduate biology for non majors: How exactly does "produces hundreds of offspring in one summer" go together with "endangered species?"

Doug M.

By insect standards, the hornet is a K-strategist. Over the same period, a pair of houseflies could produce millions of descendants.

Also, hornets suffer the usual problems of top predators. Anything that hurts their prey species hurts them. They're also very vulnerable to insecticides -- dosing a field kills a lot of insects, but leaves an even large number of of woozy, half dead bugs staggering around. These are easy prey to hornets, which then drop dead from the cumulative dose.

And! Hornets are also prey themselves. From a bird's POV, a hornet is a big, slow-moving protein-rich food object -- like a slice of extra cheese pizza droning past. Several bird species have worked out adaptations for dealing with the stings.

And then of course, if they're not protected, people just kill them.


Doug M.

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