Washington – The Washington State Department of Agriculture shared news Friday that an Asian Giant Hornet, commonly referred to as a murder hornet, was successfully trapped for the first time in the evergreen state.
The hornet was caught in a bottle trap on July 14 and identified Wednesday by an entomology lab. The five previous confirmed sightings of an Asian Giant Hornet in the state were seen in the environment, according to WSDA officials.
“This is encouraging because it means we know that the traps work,” said managing entomologist for the department Sven Spichiger. “But it also means we have work to do.”
Citizen scientists, among others, have placed more than 1,300 traps around the state hoping to catch Asian Giant Hornets.
WSDA officials are now searching for nests and placing additional traps in hopes of catching more of the insects.
“If they catch live hornets, the department will attempt to tag and track them back to their colony. Once located, the agency will eradicate the colony,” officials said in a press release.
There has been some concern that the Asian Giant Hornet has made its way south but Texas Parks and Wildlife Department invertebrate biologist Ross Winton told KSAT in June that there is no imminent threat of the hornets in Texas.
People around San Antonio have reported seeing what they think are Asian Giant Hornets but they’re actually large wasps known as Cicada Killers.
Cicada Killers can get up to about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length which is smaller than a mature Asian Giant Hornet and it’s uncommon for Cicada Killers to sting humans.
Texas A&M AgriLife experts mobilized a task force earlier this year at the request of Gov. Greg Abbott in an effort to protect Texas citizens, agriculture and honey bees in the chance that Asian Giant Hornets arrive in Texas.
A press release from the WSDA sent Friday says Washington residents would be most likely to see an Asian Giant Hornet in August and September due to an increase in worker hornets as colonies develop.
A single sting from an Asian Giant Hornet is not typically fatal, however, more than 30 people die every year in Japan after going into anaphylactic shock as a result of being stung multiple times, according to the host of Brave Wilderness YouTube show Coyote Peterson.