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First confirmed live Asian giant hornet sighting in Blaine since nest was removed

Asian giant hornet seen on paper wasp nests in east Blaine (August 11, 2021). Photo courtesy of WSDA
Asian giant hornet seen on paper wasp nests in east Blaine (August 11, 2021). Photo courtesy of WSDA

BLAINE, Wash. — It has been 10 months since the Washington Department of Agriculture (WSDA) removed an Asian giant hornet (AGH) nest in east Blaine. Recognizing there could be other undiscovered nests or queens that had left the located nest with the potential to create new nests, WSDA has been establishing a grid of traps throughout the area and continues to ask the public to remain vigilant and report any suspected sightings.

A citizen did report a sighting this week that WSDA officials were able to confirm to be a live AGH.

A photo was submitted by a Whatcom County resident on August 11th and WSDA entomologists confirmed the hornet in the photo to be an Asian giant hornet. The photograph was taken in a rural area east of Blaine, about 2 miles from where a Asian giant hornet nest was discovered last October, the first ever discovered in the United States.

This hornet is exhibiting the same behavior we saw last year – attacking paper wasp nests,” Sven Spichiger, WSDA managing entomologist said. “If you have paper wasp nests on your property and live in the area, keep an eye on them and report any Asian giant hornets you see. Note the direction they fly off to as well.”

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Asian giant hornets are an invasive pest not native to the US. They are the world’s largest hornet and prey on honey bees and other insects. These hornets may attack honey bee hives in the late summer or early fall. A small group of Asian giant hornets can kill an entire honey bee hive in a matter of hours.

Visiting WSDA’s website at agr.wa.gov/hornets is the best way to report suspected hornet sightings. The online reporting form allows you to upload photos as well as to indicate on a map where the sighting occurred. Alternatively, sightings can be emailed to hornets@agr.wa.gov or can be reported by calling 1-800-443-6684.

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