BLAINE, Wash. — There are three new confirmed sightings of Asian giant hornets in Whatcom County, increasing the number of hornets reported in the area to 12.
The total represents the first sightings of the hornets in Washington state and the U.S. since they were first spotted in 2019.
All three sightings were southeast of Blaine in late September, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA). Two of the hornets were collected and the third was photographed attacking a wasp nest, according to the WSDA.
Traps will be set in the area. The goal is to catch live hornets, tag them, and track them back to their colony to destroy them so they don’t become established in Washington state.
The Asian giant hornets are invasive to the Pacific Northwest. They have been dubbed "murder hornets" for their impact on bee populations.
Using data from a similar species, Washington State University scientists predicted that without containment, Asian giant hornets could spread into southern Washington and Oregon, and north through British Columbia.
People who believe they have seen the hornets are asked to contact WSDA. They ask you to exercise extreme caution if you see one — their stingers are longer than native bees and hornets, they can sting repeatedly and their venom is more toxic.