Days after the Township of Langley issued an alert to be on the lookout for Asian giant hornets, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has announced they have found the first nest of 2021.
In a news release issued Thursday, the department said the nest was discovered in a rural area, east of Blaine, Wash. about one-quarter mile from where a resident reported a sighting of a live Asian giant hornet on Aug. 11.
The following day, on Aug. 12, the team said they captured a hornet and tagged it with the hopes of locating a nest.
Asian giant hornets, also known as Vespa mandarinia species, are not native to North America. WSDA describes them as the world’s largest hornet who preys on honey bees and other insects.
“These hornets may attack honey bee hives in the late summer or early fall,” WSDA said. “A small group of Asian giant hornets can kill an entire honey bee hive in a matter of hours.”
Earlier this week the Township of Langley said the “provincial Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries requests residents in the southern Metro Vancouver area be on the look-out for Asian Giant Hornets.”
Pest Alert: Asian Giant Hornet. The provincial Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries requests residents in the southern Metro Vancouver area be on the look-out for Asian Giant Hornets. Read more: https://t.co/CtZ9SEkghT
— Township of Langley (@LangleyTownship) August 17, 2021
They were first discovered in British Columbia in Nanaimo in August 2019, according to the ministry, where a single nest was located and destroyed.
Since then, the ministry said six specimens have been found in the Fraser Valley from White Rock to Aldergrove in 2020, but none have been reported on Vancouver Island since 2019.
The insects are described by the Township as “large and have noticeably large orange heads and black eyes. Worker hornets are approximately 3.5 cm in length and queens can be up to 4-5 cm in length with a wingspan of 4-7 cm.
The public is encouraged to report sightings of an Asian giant hornet, but are warned to be aware of lookalike species: Bald-faced hornets, Yellow jackets, Horntail wasps, and Elm Sawflies. There is no need to report these, the ministry said.
To report an Asian giant hornet sighting, make note of the location and, if possible, take a photo, then file a report online at bcinvasives.ca/take-action/report or call 1-888-933-3722.
Meanwhile, WSDA entomologists were developing plans to remove the nest discovered in Blaine, which they hope to do next week.
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