Asian giant hornet found in Bellingham

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — An Asian giant hornet was found in Bellingham, officials with the Washington State Department of Agriculture confirmed Thursday.

The person who found the hornet told WSDA officials that it was wiggling on their porch, and they stepped on it and killed it.

The dead hornet was collected and submitted to the WSDA and was confirmed by state and federal labs to be an Asian giant hornet.

On May 27, a dead hornet believed to be a queen, was found just north of Custer, which is more than 15 miles away from Bellingham.

It was the first confirmed sighting in the state this year.

That sighting came days after the British Columbian government confirmed its first finding of the year near Langley, B.C. It was reported on May 15.

In Washington, the hornet is getting attention after it was first spotted in late 2019.

The hornet is especially large and capable of killing off entire honeybee hives in a matter of hours. In rare cases, the hornet is capable of killing small animals, and even humans, with multiple stings.

>>Giant hornets spell trouble for beekeepers, farmers in Washington state

Beginning in July, WSDA has plans to begin a program of tracking and tracing the hornet.

WSDA will be putting traps into targeted areas where it is concerned the hornets may have nested. The department worked with counterparts in Asia — from where the hornets originate from — to devise plans to capture hornets.

The next goal will be to use new technology so that the hornets can be released and tracked back to hives for the state to eradicate.

Researchers are imploring the public to report potential sightings online using the state’s reporting tools.