An Asian giant hornet has been trapped in Washington State, just a short drive from the border crossing into British Columbia.
Asian giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia) are also known as Japanese giant hornets, or more commonly as “murder hornets.” According to the government of Ontario, they are the largest species of hornet in the world and are native to temperate and tropical regions in China, Korea, Japan, and northern India.
In Washington, the first Asian giant hornet was captured earlier this year. If the invasive species’ nests can be found and destroyed before September, this will usually prevent the emergence of a queen, halting their ability to reproduce.
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Now, another has been found in the same area. Birch Bay, Washington, is about 11 km south of the border crossing into BC. According to an update from the state, the insect was identified as a worker.
In previous instances, the Washington Department of Agriculture has said it tags captured hornets and follows them back to their nest, which is then eradicated.
Asian giant hornets hunt insects for food, including honey bees. These hornets pose a serious threat to provinces’ agriculture and biodiversity, including resident bees and wasps. They can also destroy honey bee colonies in less than 24 hours.
These hornets are generally not interested in humans, pets, or large animals, but they can aggressively attack if they feel threatened or are attacking a bee colony. If you see one, do not attempt to kill or capture it, and report the sighting to the authorities.