Giant Hornet Found for the First Time in Washington and It’s Hungry
It's a rare find and its the first time one has been discovered in Washington but the giant Asian hornet has been identified by the Washington Department of Agriculture.
The hornet is usually not aggressive towards humans but it does have a powerful sting and represents a threat to honeybees because of its ferocious appetite.
The WSDA collected the specimen near Blaine Washington after a resident found the unusually large hornet on their property. The WSDA tested and confirmed its identity after several tests.
Here's what you are looking for if you come across the giant Asian hornet:
Adults can be nearly two inches long, have a distinctly light-orange head with prominent black eyes, a black thorax and a black/yellow striped abdomen.
The invasive hornets are typically almost an inch and a half long and are distinguished by their large yellow heads.
Asian giant hornets nest in the ground. Though they are typically not interested in humans, pets or large animals, they can inflict a nasty sting if threatened or their nest is disturbed.
Asian giant hornets are typically dormant over the winter, and are most often seen from July through October.
DOH advises individuals to take preventative measures in the outdoors by keeping food and drink covered or under screens, and cleaning up by disposing food and garbage properly. People should avoid swatting at the hornets, which may cause these insects to sting.
If you are stung, DOH recommends washing the site thoroughly with soap and water and applying ice or a cold compress to reduce swelling. The agency also recommends an antihistamine or use of an anti-itch cream to reduce itching if necessary. If you are stung multiple times or have symptoms of a severe reaction following a sting, call 911 or seek medical care immediately.
Asian giant hornets are not usually aggressive, but because of their size and stinger, it's best to avoid them.
Asian giant hornets feed on insects and are of particular concern to beekeepers because they are capable of quickly destroying honeybee hives.
This is the first time this invasive species has been detected in Washington State. In August, a large colony of Asian giant hornets was discovered and subsequently destroyed in British Columbia. The BC Ministry of Agriculture issued a pest alert about the detection in September.
You can check out more details on this rare hornet here.