Agriculture officials have captured their first Asian giant hornet this month in Washington State - but are in a race against the clock to find the rest before mating season starts.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture revealed in a press release that state's first Asian giant hornet, nicknamed 'murder hornet', was trapped on July 14.
Officials set up bottle trap near Birch Bay in Whatcom County and, following a review at WSDA's entomology lab, confirmed the hornet's species on July 29.
This is the first hornet detected in a set trap, rather than found in the environment like the last five confirmed sightings in Washington.
'This is encouraging because it means we know that the traps work,' Sven Spichiger, managing entomologist for the department. said in the press release.
'But it also means we have work to do.'
Now, agriculture officials have just two months to locate the rest of the invasive species and remove them from Washington before mating season.
The department said that by mid-September the Asian giant hornet colony will begin reproducing new queens and drones.
'Destroying the nest before new queens emerge and mate will prevent the spread of this invasive pest,' the department said.
The WSDA said they will search for Asian giant hornets with infrared cameras and place extra traps to capture the insect alive.
'If they catch live hornets, the department will attempt to tag and track them back to their colony. Once located, the agency will eradicate the colony,' the department said.
WSDA added that in addition to the traps set up by the department, citizen scientists and others have placed more than 1,300 traps throughout the state.
'If it becomes established, this hornet will have negative impacts on the environment, e... (Read more)
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