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Honeybee-eating wasps invade Washington state

This original article was published by Vegetable Growers News on January 2, 2020 and can be accessed here



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In December, WSDA entomologists identified a large hornet found near the Canadian border as an Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia), an invasive species not previously found in Washington State.


Although it is not typically aggressive toward humans, this unwelcome pest can inflict a powerful sting and also represents a threat to honeybees, for which they have a voracious appetite.


On Dec. 8, a resident in Blaine near the Canadian border reported an unusually large hornet they found on their property. Two days later, WSDA visited the site, collected the specimen, which was dead, and confirmed its identity a short time later.


The resident also reported seeing a live giant hornet at a hummingbird feeder before it retreated into a nearby forest.


WSDA and Washington State Department of Health (DOH) officials ask people in the area to be on the lookout for and take precautions to avoid contact with these large bugs.

The invasive hornets are typically almost an inch and a half long and are distinguished by their large yellow heads.


Asian giant hornets nest in the ground. Though they are typically not interested in humans, pets or large animals, they can inflict a nasty sting if threatened or their nest is disturbed.


Asian giant hornets are typically dormant over the winter, and are most often seen from July through October.


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©2020 by National Pesticide Safety Education Center.