No giant Asian hornet: Washington launches campaign after false reports


Washington State’s #ThatIsNotAnAsianGiantHornet series highlights insects that are often mistaken for the invasive Asian giant hornet.

Do you think you’ve spotted a giant Asian hornet in your garden? Check it again.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture launched a campaign Wednesday to educate the public about insects that resemble the invasive hornet.

Over a period of several months, more than 2,000 potential sightings of the Asian giant hornet have been reported to the WSDA. Almost all of them turned out to be false reports.

First in the WSDA campaign: The Great Golden Digger Wasp. The state launched the # ThatIsNotAnAsianGiantHornet series after receiving “tons of reports” about this species of this wasp.

RELATED: Could Praying Mantis Kill or Control the Asian Giant Hornet Population in Washington State?

According to the WSDA, the Great Golden Digger Wasp is not aggressive and runs its own business. You can tell it apart from a giant Asian hornet by the markings on its abdomen. Large golden digger wasps are half orange and half black, while Asian giant hornets have black and orange or yellow stripes.

If you see a Great Golden Digger wasp, the WSDA urged the public to leave it alone.

Bald-faced hornets, yellow vests, bumblebees and ten-line beetles are also often confused with giant Asian hornets, according to the WSDA.

Six Asian giant hornets were found in Washington state, one of which was trapped in the last month. The other five were found in the area.

Asian giant hornets attack hives for protein and can grow up to two inches long, which makes them easy to distinguish from smaller bees and hornets. Their active season begins in April and lasts until early summer / early fall when they become most devastating to honeybee populations.

RELATED: Additional Asian Giant Hornet Traps at Bellingham

The WSDA hopes to destroy all hornet nests by mid-September or October – before the colony begins reproducing queens and drones – to prevent the invasive hornet from spreading further.

People who believe they have seen the hornets are asked to contact the WSDA. They ask you to use extreme caution if you see one – their spines are longer than those of native bees and hornets, they can sting repeatedly, and their venom is more venomous.

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