WHATCOM COUNTY — The Washington State Department of Agriculture announced Friday that the first live Asian Giant Hornet was caught earlier this week near Blaine.
They released a video of the hornet inside a container on their Facebook page:
The Asian Giant Hornet is the world’s largest species of hornet. The WSDA confirmed the first-ever sighting of the hornet in December in Blaine.
The Asian Giant Hornet was also discovered in British Columbia last fall. There have been more confirmed sightings of the hornet in both Washington and Canada this year.
WSDA officials warn people to use extreme caution near the hornets because their stinger is longer than a honey bee and more dangerous than any local bee or wasp. Officials also warn that typical beekeeping protective clothing is not sufficient to protect from the hornet’s stings.
“If you find a colony, do not attempt to remove or eradicate it,” officials say. “Report it to WSDA immediately.”
Officials say that while the hornets do not generally attack people or pets, they can when threatened. They also can sting repeatedly.
In addition to the risks of stings by Asian Giant Hornets, the WSDA says they attack and destroy honeybee hives.
“A few hornets can destroy a hive in a matter of hours,” WSDA says. “The hornets enter a ‘slaughter phase’ where they kill bees by decapitating them. They then defend the hive as their own, taking the brood to feed their own young. They also attack other insects but are not known to destroy entire populations of those insects.”
The WSDA said that if the hornets become established, they will have negative effects on the environment, economy and public health of Washington.
Watch a full replay of a Friday news conference from the WSDA below:
Cox Media Group