‘Murder Hornet’ sightings confirmed in Washington state

BELLINGHAM, WA – JULY 29: A display holding a dead Asian Giant Hornet from Japan (left and upper right), also known as a murder hornet, next to a commonly seen hornet (bottom right) as sample specimens from Japan on July 29, 2020 in Bellingham, Washington. Asian giant hornets attack and destroy honeybee hives. The Washington Stae Department of Agriculture (WSDA) currently has 442 traps throughout the state. To date, five Asian Giant Hornets have been found in Washington state, all by public citizens in Whatcom County. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

BLAINE, Wash. (NewsNation Now) – There’s no need to revive the “murder hornet” invasion panic we experienced a few months back, but agricultural officials in Washington state say they have confirmed a few sightings in recent days.

The Asian giant hornet gets its nickname from it’s propensity to slaughter other insects.

“Asian giant hornet attacks and destroys honeybee hives. A few hornets can destroy a hive in a matter of hours. The hornets enter a “slaughter phase” where they kill bees by decapitating them,” writes the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

When the first sightings in the United States began last year, the murder hornet name set off a bit of a panic on social media. Though no mass invasion is underway, the WSDA is confirming some new sightings this season.

“After a no confirmed sightings for a few weeks, one person in the Blaine area reported several sights of Asian giant hornets. Two specimens were collected,” wrote the Washington State Department of Agriculture in a Facebook post. “Another was photographed attacking a wasp nest.”

In August, the same agency issued a press release indicating that they had trapped the first male Asian giant hornet detected in the United States. Also known by the scientific name Vespa mandarinia, the hornets are the largest in the world. Their stingers are longer than a traditional bee’s and their venom is more toxic. The WSDA says they don’t attack humans or pets unless they feel threatened.

The WSDA released these images of Asian Giant Hornets – also known as “murder hornets” – near Blaine, Washington. At the right is a common yellowjacket for size comparison. (Photo courtesy WSDA).

To get a sense of size, look at the photo above, which shows the hornets captured outside the city of Blaine next to a common yellow jacket.

Officials have previously said that they are attempting to tag the hornets using hundreds of traps, trace them back to the colony and destroy them.


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