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First Asian giant hornet nest of 2021 found in Whatcom County

Entomologists will now work to eradicate the nest found in Blaine, Wash. Asian giant hornets are an invasive species that prey on honey bees.

BLAINE, Wash. — The first Asian giant hornet nest of 2021 was found Thursday in a rural area east of Blaine in Whatcom County, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA). 

The nest was located about one-quarter mile from where a resident reported a sighting of a live Asian giant hornet on Aug. 11, which was the first sighting this year, WSDA said.

After that first hornet sighting, entomologists were able to capture three live hornets and place tags and trackers on them before releasing them in hopes the hornets would lead scientists back to a nest. 

The hornets were released between Aug. 11-17. According to WSDA, one hornet slipped out of the tracking device, another hornet was never located and one eventually led the team to the nest 

Credit: WSDA
Asian giant hornet with a tracker on it leads researchers to first nest of 2021 in Blaine, Washington, Aug. 19, 2021.

“Teamwork has been the key to success with this effort,” Sven Spichiger, WSDA managing entomologist said in a statement Thursday. “Whether it is the public reporting sightings and building traps or state and federal agencies working together, this is really a model for success in invasive species management.” 

The WSDA worked with the Oregon Department of Agriculture and USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service to find the nest. 

WSDA entomologists will now develop their plans to eradicate the nest, most likely next week, the WSDA said. 

Asian giant hornets are invasive to the U.S. They're known to attack and destroy wasp and honey bee hives. Just a few giant hornets can destroy a hive within a matter of hours.

The first Asian giant hornet sighting of 2021 happened while the hornet was attacking a paper wasp nest two miles east of where the first Asian giant hornet nest was eradicated last year. A homeowner reported the sighting to the WSDA.

WSDA encourages anyone who spots an Asian giant hornet, whether alive or dead, to report it by clicking here.