MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Washington gears up for second round of fight against Asian giant hornets

Mar 15, 2021, 11:46 AM | Updated: 2:21 pm

hornet nest, Asian giant hornets...

An Asian giant hornet peeks out of one of the cells in the nest found in a tree near Blaine. (Washington State Department of Agriculture Twitter)

(Washington State Department of Agriculture Twitter)

The daffodils are sprouting, the clocks are springing forward, and in northwestern Whatcom County, the Asian giant hornets are about to begin waking up.

KIRO Radio is expecting an update this week from the Department of Agriculture about this year’s renewed effort to fight the invasive hornets.

Last fall, the department located and destroyed an Asian giant hornet nest on private property east of Blaine. The nest was the first of its kind to be found in the United States; Asian giant hornets have not been seen on American soil outside of Whatcom County, though they have been spotted just across the border in British Columbia.

Although the nest is gone — and, with it, hundreds of hornets — entomologists still believe that based on where hornets have been seen, there are other nests in downtown Blaine and the Birch Bay area. That means that this spring and summer will see a second year of work by the state to find and eradicate all of the Asian giant hornets before they gain a foothold.

Asian giant hornet trapping wraps up in December before hibernation

The hornets have been hibernating since the beginning of winter, but they’ll be waking up soon.

“The mated queens would emerge probably around April, sometime,” Department of Agriculture Public Engagement Specialist Karla Salp told KIRO Radio in December.

At that point, she said, those mated queens will start feeding on carbohydrate-rich food sources, such as tree sap.

“The mated queens will actually start building the new colony,” Salp explained. “They’ll lay worker eggs, and they’ll be doing all the work.”

After that, the workers will emerge and start doing the work for the queens.

And while the hornets have been sleeping, the state’s entomologists have been hard at work. Salp said at the time of the interview that state entomologists intended to spend the winter studying trapping methods that have been used in East Asia, the area to which the hornets are native, and analyzing which of those would work best here. That way, they’ll be ready to start looking for the queens when they emerge.

Overall, the Department of Agriculture remains hopeful the problem can be contained, because the hornets have not spread beyond the northwest corner of Whatcom County since they were first found here in 2019.

Asian giant hornets are colloquially called “murder hornets” because of the way they prey on smaller bees. However, while their stings are very painful to humans, they are only deadly to people in extremely rare cases.

If you spot a 2-inch-long, orange hornet, report it to the Department of Agriculture here.

MyNorthwest News

Image: The service center for Marysville School District...

Julia Dallas

State sends reinforcements to review Marysville’s struggling school budget

The Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction has put together a committee to review the Marysville School District's budget.

24 minutes ago

Image: A person holds several small Pride flags during a recent event in Washington....

The KIRO 7 staff with MyNorthwest editors

Pride flag raised at Newcastle City Hall after City Council reverses decision

The Newcastle City Council reversed their previous decision Tuesday and elected to raise the Pride flag at City Hall. The council voted 4-3.

1 hour ago

Image: A Pierce County Sheriff's Department logo can be seen on an officer at a scene with a police...

Steve Coogan

1 of 2 late-night Tacoma shootings involve sheriff’s deputies

In the second of two overnight shootings in Tacoma, Pierce County Sheriff's Department deputies fired at a suspect early Wednesday.

5 hours ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

18 hours ago

Seattle police tombstone...

Matt Markovich

Timing of former SPD chief coming out raises questions amidst legal, administrative turmoil

The former SPD chief's coming out has some unnamed sources within SPD and members questioning the timing of his announcement.

18 hours ago

Image: Drugs, guns and money were seized as part of a large investigation led by the DEA and the Se...

Steve Coogan and James Lynch

Long Washington probe yields 84,000 fentanyl pills, hundreds of pounds of drugs

Four Seattle-area men with ties to Central and South America were arrested in a long probe related to drugs, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

20 hours ago

Washington gears up for second round of fight against Asian giant hornets