Following the news earlier this year that giant Asian "murder hornets" had been spotted in the U.S., one has been captured in the state of Washington for the first time.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture confirmed it had trapped one of the dangerous insects at Birch Bay in Whatcom County. The hornet was captured on July 14 and identified on July 29, and is the first of its kinda to be detected in a trap in North America, as opposed to the state's previous five confirmed sightings in the wild. "This is encouraging because it means we know that the traps work," said WSDA's managing entomologist Sven Spichiger. "But it also means we have work to do."

The department is now looking to search more nests using infrared cameras, and will also place further traps to catch more live specimens of the Asian giant hornet. If any live hornets are caught, the WSDA will tag them in order to track them back to their colony. "Once located, the agency will eradicate the colony," the WSDA confirmed. The department is hoping to find and destroy the nest by September in order to prevent said colony from creating more queens and drones. "Destroying the nest before new queens emerge and mate will prevent the spread of this invasive pest," the WSDA added.

It has also been warned that Washington state residents could run into the murder hornets across August and September, and if they do spot one they should report the sighting immediately. As of right now, it remains unclear how the hornets made their way from Asia to North America, but they were first documented late last year.  

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