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Initial Live ‘Killer Hornet’ of 2021 Identified in Washington


Initial Live ‘Killer Hornet’ of 2021 Identified in Washington

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The year 2020 housed numerous truly terrible occurrences, so much so that it is challenging to recollect all of them. One such event that might have slipped your mind was the detection of “killer hornets” in the state of Washington. These “killer hornets,” also recognized as the Asian colossal wasp, belong to a species of wasp indigenous to Asian regions recognized for their fierce and damaging characteristics. Their presence as an invasive species in the US could pose potential threats to the local environment. Not only do Asian giant wasps deliver an exceptionally painful sting to humans, but they have a proclivity for locating and annihilating honeybee hives, thereby exacerbating the already declining honeybee population. It is disheartening to note that, as of this week, no live killer hornets have been spotted.

Recently, a resident of Whatcom County reported witnessing an unusually large wasp attacking a paper wasp nest on their premises. Entomologists from the Department of Agriculture in Washington inspected the scene and confirmed that it was indeed a genuine killer hornet, alive and aggressive. This spot where the sighting occurred lies approximately two miles away from the location where the DoA personnel eradicated a killer wasp nest back in October.

State entomologist, Sven Spichiger, remarked, “This wasp is displaying the same behavior observed last year – attacking paper wasp nests. If you have paper wasp nests on your land in the nearby vicinity, it is advisable to monitor them closely and promptly report any sightings of Asian giant wasps. Observe the direction in which they depart as well.”

Henceforth, this marks only the second instance of spotting a killer hornet this year, the first being the identification of a deceased specimen in Marysville. Efforts are being made by DoA workers to position traps near the area where the live specimen was observed with the intention of tracing any new nests.

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