Officials take down Asian giant hornet traps but keep watch

Asian Giant Hornet
Credit: WSDA

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — All Asian giant hornet traps in Washington state will be taken down by Dec. 23 in preparation for winter.

Washington State Department of Agriculture spokesperson Karla Salp said Thursday that Asian giant hornet workers and drones are expected to die off this winter, and the queens will find a spot to hibernate, according to KING5 News.

Although the traps won’t be in place, Salp said people should still report sightings to the department whether the hornets are dead or alive.

The Asian giant hornet was first spotted in Washington state in 2019 and since then the WSDA has been on the hunt for the invasive species, which kills bees and takes the bee larvae to feed their own young.

Earlier this year, WSDA placed hundreds of Asian giant hornet traps around Whatcom County. The traps are clear plastic bottles and contain a mixture of orange juice and rice cooking wine or sake.

However, it wasn’t until October that officials were able to trap a live Asian giant hornet and attach a tracker to it to try and follow it back to its colony. Although the first several attempts failed, officials located the first Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S. several weeks later.

Officials successfully eradicated the nest, which was in a tree in Blaine. Nearly 200 queens were found in the nest, 108 of which were still in capped cells, ready to emerge

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READ: First Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S. located by Washington state entomologists