OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Agriculture says it was able to trap its first Asian giant hornet this month.
Officials say the hornet was found in a WSDA trap near Birch Bay in Whatcom County. The hornet was collected from a bottle trap, submitted for processing at a lab and identified on July 29 as a Asian giant hornet.
This was the first hornet to be detected in a trap, rather than found in the environment as the state's five previous confirmed sightings were.
“This is encouraging because it means we know that the traps work,” Sven Spichiger, managing entomologist for the department said. “But it also means we have work to do.”
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) trapped its first #Asiangianthornet this month. The hornet was found on July 14 in a WSDA trap set near Birch Bay in Whatcom County. More info here: https://t.co/qsg6Hf5wL5 pic.twitter.com/Ypr9BLS5Xj— Whatcom County Gov (@Whatcomctygov) July 31, 2020
The WSDA now looks to search for nests and place additional traps, including ones that will catch hornets but keep them alive so they can tag and track them back to their colony. If able to locate said colony, the WSDA would eradicate it.
The WSDA aims to find and destroy the nest by mid-September, prior to when the colony would begin creating new reproducing queens and drones, to prevent the invasive species from spreading.
Over 1,300 traps have been set looking to catch the hornets. Those interested in trapping can still build and set traps on their own property, but the traps require weekly bait replacement and a commitment to mail trap contents to the WSDA if bees or wasps are collected.