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Ukhrul: 'Felling oak trees detrimental to wild giant hornets'

Source: The Sangai Express / Mungchan Zimik

 

Ukhrul, November 09 2021: The wanton felling of oak trees for timber in Ukhrul has threatened the existence of wild giant hornets (Khuirei in Tangkhul dialect) .

The larvae of giant hornets or killer hornets are in demand because of their peculiar taste and high protein content.

The price of Khuirei has dramatically shot up in the past 3-5 years, being sold at Rs 1500/kg at Ava Market, Phungreitang, Ukhrul.

Speaking to media persons, Hunphun/Ukhrul VA secretary Worngam Muirangwo highlighted the unprecedented decrease of wild Giant hornets presence in Ukhrul village.

The decline in the number of oak trees in the western and eastern forest areas of Ukhrul such as Somsai, Lengcheng, Pahei, Tuira, etc has affected the population of the wild bees.

The indiscriminate felling of old oak trees for timber by locals is the main factor for rapid decline in the population of wild giant hornets in the district, he added.

Rinmaya Kasomwoshi of Kasomtang Ukhrul, who had been rearing giant hornets for over 14 years shared his experience about the art of hornet rearing by the Tangkhul community.

He stated that hornet rearing has been practiced since time immemorial while adding that the rearing of wild bees begins from April/May by trapping the queen hornet along with few worker bees.

The nests were then collected carefully and are placed in specially dug pits, which would be harvested during October and November.

The bees live in colonies and attack the weaker hornet to suppress and dominate the area where oak trees are grown that produce sap/tree juices, he added.

He also mentioned that the price of one whole nest of giant hornets ranges from Rs 20,000 to 50,000 depending on its size.

If the people of Ukhrul continue felling oak trees for another couple of years, the wild giant hornet might vanish from Ukhrul, Rinmaya Kasomwoshi asserted.