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Whatcom County Asian giant hornet trapping season begins, citizen trappers needed

Asian giant hornet bottle trap. Source: WSDA

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Any remaining Asian giant hornets (AGH) in the area are not expected to be active outside their colonies until July.

Workers in colonies start becoming active in July according to Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) officials. As such, they are hoping many citizen-placed traps will go up now and will stay up until November.

By participating in trapping, and reporting any suspected AGH captures to WSDA, citizens help entomologists limit the spread and possibly even eradicate this invasive hornet from Washington State, WSDA officials say.

Traps used are made from a 2-liter or 64-ounce plastic bottles and target AGH workers in the summer and fall. This is the same trap used by the hornet program in Nagoya, Japan according to WSDA officials. They are baited using a specific blend of orange juice and rice cooking wine.

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Citizens have been advised not to put up the bottle traps before July since they would be unlikely to capture any AGHs but would likely kill beneficial insects.

Although we invite anyone in Washington to participate in trapping, we are particularly interested in trapping information from Whatcom, Skagit, Island, San Juan, Snohomish, King, Jefferson and Clallam counties.

Washington State Department of Agriculture

In the past, citizen trappers were required to collect and send in their trap’s contents weekly but that is no longer the case. Trappers still need to check their traps weekly but only need to report suspected AGH findings by taking a photo and emailing it to WSDA.

AGHs can be 2 inches long and have a distinct orange face with dark eyes. 

A tagged Asian giant hornet feeds on strawberry jam before being released to be tracked back to its nest (August 13, 2021). Photo courtesy of WSDA
A tagged Asian giant hornet feeds on strawberry jam before being released to be tracked back to its nest (August 13, 2021). Photo courtesy of WSDA

Since a nest was discovered and destroyed in Nanaimo, British Columbia in 2019, there have been multiple sightings and captures in northern Whatcom County areas, specifically in and around Blaine. Live captures have been equipped with electronic tracking devices and followed to 4 nests located in nearby Alder trees, 1 in 2020 and 3 in 2021.

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One Comment

  1. Marijo June 27, 2022

    What are the specific proportions for the orange juice wine solution?

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