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State entomologists want public’s help to spot Asian giant hornets

A so-called 'murder hornet' captured in Whatcom County. (WSDA)

Local entomologists are trying to get ahead of what could be a big season for Asian giant hornets as they start to come out of hibernation, and you can help track them down.

Asian giant hornets could start emerging ‘any day now,’ says WSDA

They think we’ll see reports of the hornets in other parts of the Washington this year, not just in Whatcom County where most of the giant hornets have been found so far.

So they want the public to call, even if you’re not sure what you’re seeing is actually a giant hornet.

“We would rather sort through all of those reports of harmless insects that are here and we’re not going to be doing anything about just to get that one report of an Asian giant hornet,” says one state entomologist.

Entomologists say more than half of all giant hornets found last year were because of phone calls, so they want you to call in any tips you might have. If you spot a 2-inch-long, orange hornet — or think you may have spotted one — report it to the Department of Agriculture here.

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, but they have been spotted in British Columbia.

No, you can’t keep ‘murder hornets’ as pets in Washington state

The hornets were believed to have entered into hibernation sometime in December, and were expected to emerge in April. During that period, state entomologists were working to study trapping methods used in East Asia, and analyzing which of those would work best in Washington.

Overall, the state Department of Agriculture previously said they remain 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.

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