2021's first live Asian giant 'murder hornet' spotted in Washington
- The sighting was reported by a resident of Whatcom County
- The report included a photograph of an Asian giant hornet attacking a paper wasp nest
- The Asian giant hornets are the world’s largest hornets
A live Asian giant “murder hornet” has been spotted for the first time in 2021 in the state of Washington, scientists confirmed on Thursday.
The sighting was reported by a resident of Whatcom County to Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) on Wednesday. The report included a photograph of an Asian giant hornet attacking a paper wasp nest in a rural area near Blaine near the Canadian border.
The report of the hornet sighting came from an area just about two miles from where the first Asian giant hornet nest in the US was eradicated in October 2020. Entomologists confirmed on Thursday that the reported sighting was indeed of an Asian giant hornet.
"This hornet is exhibiting the same behavior we saw last year – attacking paper wasp nests. If you have paper wasp nests on your property and live in the area, keep an eye on them and report any Asian giant hornets you see. Note the direction they fly off to as well," Sven Spichiger, WSDA managing entomologist, was quoted by the Washington Times as saying.
Due to the confirmed sighting, the department and the Canadian authorities will be setting traps in the area and in British Columbia to try to capture a live hornet, tag it and follow it back to the nest.
The Asian giant hornets are the world’s largest hornets. These type of hornets reach over 2 inches in length, and feed on honey bees and other insects. These insects also spit venom apart from delivering painful stings that can damage tissue. While the Asian Hornets are not that aggressive if left alone, they attack and deliver painful and damaging stings to anyone who disturbs them.