10:45 AM PDT, August 13, 2021
Experts confirmed a “murder hornet” sighting in Washington state on Wednesday.
A resident in a rural area near Blaine, Washington, reported the insect and was able to get a photograph to share with experts.
It was confirmed that it was indeed an Asian giant hornet, or “murder hornet,” on Thursday.
While they do not generally attack humans or pets, they enter a “slaughter phase” where they decapitate bees. This is what earned them their ominous nickname.
However, they will sting if threatened, and because their stingers are longer than a typical wasp, it can pierce a beekeeper’s suit. They can also sting multiple times, and their venom is more toxic than other bees, the WSDA said.
The sighting in Washington state occurred about two miles from where the WSDA had gotten rid of a giant hornet’s nest in 2020, according to the release.
“This hornet is exhibiting the same behavior we saw last year – attacking paper wasp nests,” said Sven Spichiger, WSDA managing entomologist.
“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.”
Traps are being set throughout Washington — and British Columbia since the sighting was only ½ mile from the border — with the hope of catching and tagging a hornet in an attempt to locate its nest.
The WSDA is asking residents to report any possible Asian giant hornet sightings on its website.