It seems as if 2020 just continues to throw one bad situation at us after another. If the pandemic, the explosion in Beirut, and the protests/riots weren’t enough, we now have to worry about murder hornets. Now that they are in the United States, these Asian hornets, which are also known as Asian giant hornets, are causing a lot of panic.
There has been our lot of news lately that has distracted us from the news about Murder Hornets, but they haven’t gone anywhere. According to one description posted in the New York Times, being stung by them is like having “red-hot thumbtacks being driven into my flesh.” Washington state did not see very many of these murder hornets up until that time, and entomologists were trying to track them back to their nests after catching them in a trap. They finally have one.
According to a report by CBS News, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) located the hornet on July 14. A bottle trap had been set up by Whatcom County’s Birch Bay and it managed to capture what is now the only specimen found so far in Washington. There were five sightings, but this is the first one in captivity.
According to WSDA’s management entomologists, Sven Spichiger, “This is encouraging because it means we know that the traps work.” In that press release, he also said that we now have work to do.
As of now, the colony is likely only a single queen and some worker hornets, but once mating season takes place in mid-September, that is likely to change. After other Hornets and Queens are born, the community will spread and cause a lot of problems, including with honeybees. Murder hornets behead honeybees and feed the thorax to their young.
In order to reduce the decimation of the bee population, along with saving people from some nasty stings, they need to locate the hives and destroy them within two months. Right now, they are installing infrared cameras and additional traps in an effort to capture a live hornet that they can track back to its own nest.
Traps are also being set by beekeepers and other locals to help out. If you have spotted a murder hornet in Washington, it should be reported.