After early challenges, state eradicates third Asian giant hornet nest

Sep 23, 2021, 12:07 PM

After encountering early challenges, workers with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the state Department of Agriculture (WSDA) have successfully eradicated a third Asian giant hornet nest.

State vacuums over 100 Asian giant hornets out of nest

The nest was found near Blaine, Washington, within just a few miles of where two other recently eradicated nests were located. For this latest one, there were additional difficulties presented by it being situated 20 feet up in a tree, requiring the use of special equipment to safely dislodge it.

That had the WSDA calling in the DNR for “expert tree-dropping help.” After removing part of the tree to get to the nest, entomologists identified a single queen as well as hundreds of worker hornets. While the first two nests did not yield any queens themselves, additional queens could lead to the proliferation of the hornets across the region, which would potentially allow the non-native species to establish a foothold in Washington.

Typically found in tropical parts of East Asia, the Asian giant hornet holds the distinction of being the world’s largest hornet. It’s also known to attack honeybees, and has the ability to decimate an entire hive within a matter of hours.

The goal is to find and eradicate every nest before the hornets hibernate for the winter, and to prevent those new nests from being established by the queens next year.

State begins Asian giant hornet tracking effort

“One hornet nest could produce up to maybe 300 new queens that could produce new nests,” WSDA public engagement specialist Karla Salp told TVW. “That would be sort of worst-case scenario here.”

Currently, state entomologists are concerned over a possible recent sighting reported near Nooksack, which would be over 20 miles east of where the three hornet nests were located. While they have yet to confirm whether the insect photographed is indeed an Asian giant hornet, it could indicate that they have spread much further than originally thought.

If you believe you may have spotted an Asian giant hornet in your area, you can fill out this form to report the sighting to the state.

KIRO Radio reporter Nicole Jennings contributed to this story.

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After early challenges, state eradicates third Asian giant hornet nest