After a dead Murder Hornet was discovered back in June, a live one was spotted this week in Washington State. This marks the first live spotting of 2021.
The sighting of the Asian giant hornet was reported by a resident in Whatcom County, and Entomologists confirmed it on Thursday. The resident had taken a photo of the hornet attacking a paper wasp nest in the town of Blaine, which is located two miles from where, last October, state officials destroyed the first Asian giant hornet nest seen in the United States. “This hornet is exhibiting the same behavior we saw last year – attacking paper wasp nests,” state entomologist Sven Spichiger told CBS News. “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.”
The Asian giant hornet, often referred to as “Murder Hornets,” is a massive threat to honeybees. The hornets often attack hives and destroy them within hours, decapitating every bee they come across during what scientists refer to as their “slaughter phase.” The hornet's sting can sometimes be lethal to humans as well, though it is rare.
The Department of Agriculture in Washington State plans to set traps within the area of the sighting in the hopes they can catch and track a hornet back to its nest. As previously mentioned, an Asian hornet sighting was recorded back in June in a town north of Seattle, but it was found dead and was collected off a resident's lawn. Agriculture officials believed the hornet to have been from a previous season due to its deteriorated condition.