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WSDA wraps up another season of northern giant hornet trapping

Live captured northern giant hornet. Source: WSDA

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — November 30th is considered the end of the season for trapping northern giant hornets (NGH), previously known as Asian giant hornets, in Whatcom County according to officials with the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA). Officials say there were no confirmed detections so far in 2023 in both Washington and British Columbia.

WSDA will begin removing about 800 hornet traps placed around Whatcom County in December. A volunteer trapping program was launched again this year and wraps up on November 30th.

2022 was the first year without a confirmed NGH sighting since they were first found in 2019 in Nanaimo, Canada, and soon after in the eastern Blaine area, their first confirmed North American sightings.

Federal guidelines require 3 consecutive years without a confirmed detection before declaring the NGHs eradicated from the area.

It is still important to be on the lookout. Dead or alive, northern giant hornet reports are helpful. In December 2019 and September 2020, dead hornets were collected. One hornet was found on a porch, and the other was inside a lantern-style electric yard light that had a paper wasp nest inside. Washington State Department of Agriculture (November 21, 2023)

Since the first NGH nest was discovered and destroyed in Nanaimo, British Columbia in 2019, there have been multiple sightings and captures in northern Whatcom County areas 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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