Scientists have been trying to catch invasive insects and prevent infestation since they were first discovered in the state last year. The hornets are more than five centimeters long and are nicknamed because of their tendency to attack and kill honey bees and possibly humans.
Officials announced on Friday that they identified the giant Asian hornet earlier this week using a trap that had been collected near Birch Bay on July 14.
“It’s encouraging because we know the traps are working,” said Sven Spichiger, senior entomologist at the Washington Department of Agriculture (WSDA), in the announcement. “But it also means we have work to do.”
This work includes finding nests with infrared cameras and setting up more traps, the announcement says. The state’s Department of Agriculture plans to use special traps that catch and keep the hornets alive so that they can be tagged and traced back to their colonies. As soon as the agency has found the colonies, they will be destroyed.
The hope is to find the nest by mid-September before the colony creates new reproductive queens and drones, the statement said.
Scientists are unsure how these giant Asian hornets landed in Washington State.
But don’t get too close.