The first report of a live Asian giant hornet in Washington this year has been confirmed, according to a statement published by the Washington state department of agriculture (WSDA).
A Whatcom County resident reported the sighting on Wednesday, roughly two miles from where the WSDA destroyed the first Asian giant hornet nest discovered in the US last October.
Scientists discovered a dead hornet north of Seattle two months ago, marking the first murder hornet identified in the United States this year.
Sven Spichiger, WSDA's managing entomologist, stated, "This hornet is performing the same behavior we witnessed last year - attacking paper wasp nests."
"If you reside in the region and have paper wasp nests, keep an eye on them and report any Asian giant hornets you encounter. Take note of their flight path as well," he said.
Paper wasps are smaller than Asian giant hornets, and their nests are made of papery material made from dead wood and plant fibers, as well as their saliva.
The invasive hornet was first discovered along the US-Canadian border in December 2019.
Asian Giant Hornet
The Asian giant hornet, native to Asia, is a threat to honeybees and native hornet species. If left unchecked, hornets may decapitate bees and feed cut body pieces to their own young, destroying a honeybee colony in only hours by feeding on the larvae and decapitating bees in what scientists term their "slaughter phase."
Their sting is excruciating, although they are not particularly hostile towards people. It seemed like red-hot thumbtacks were being pushed into my body, according to one expert. In addition, renal failure and death can occur as a result of the sting.
In addition, hornets can spray poison. "I was more afraid about having lasting nerve damage in the eye from the squirted venom than being stung," Chris Looney, a WSDA entomologist who was charged with vacuuming the hornets in October, said of wearing goggles throughout the removal procedure.
Following the sighting on Wednesday, the WSDA said that traps would be put in the vicinity in the hopes of catching a live hornet, tagging it, and tracking it back to its nest.
The British Columbia authorities will follow suit because the sighting occurred about half a mile from the US-Canadian border.
"They're rare and far between because they're an apex predator. And the fact that their nests are sometimes subterranean doesn't help matters," says British Columbia's top beekeeper, Dr. Paul van Westendorp.
Biologists attempted to exterminate the intruders, but new evidence suggests that the hornets survived the winter. Two queens were previously discovered in Washington State. According to the state's agriculture agency, one had already mated.
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