Washington Dept. of Agriculture traps first Asian giant hornet

Asian Giant Hornet
Credit: WSDA

BIRCH BAY, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Agriculture trapped its first Asian giant hornet this month.

The hornet was found in a trap set by the WSDA near Birch Bay in Whatcom County. According to a release, trappers checked the bottle trap on July 14 and identified the hornet on July 29.

This is the first Asian giant hornet detected in a trap; the five previous confirmed sightings were found in the environment.

“This is encouraging because it means we know that the traps work,” managing entomologist Sven Spichiger said. “But it also means we have work to do.”

The WSDA will not take steps to search for nests using infrared cameras and will place additional traps in order to catch more hornets. Special traps will be deployed with the intention of trapping the hornets, but keeping them alive. If they catch live hornets, the department will attempt to tag and track them back to their colony. Once located, the colony will be eradicated.

The WSDA hopes to find and destroy the nest by mid-September; that is when the colony would begin reproducing queens and drones. Until that time, the colony will only contain the queen and worker Asian giant hornets. The WSDA says destroying the nest before new queens emerge and mate will prevent the spread of the invasive pest.

In addition to those set by the WSDA, citizen scientists and other cooperators have place 1,300 traps.

To learn more about the hornets, click here.

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