Second Murder Hornet nest found in 2021 in Whatcom County


A second nest built by Asian giant hornets – commonly known as “Murder Hornets” – is in northern Whatcom County, the Washington State Department of Agriculture reported on Friday, September 10th. It will be the second nest in the US in 2021. Both were in Whatcom County.

“Our on-site team has located the second Asian giant hornet’s nest of the year 2021,” said a Facebook post from the Ministry of Agriculture on Friday morning. “Eradication plans are underway and will be carried out in the next few days.

“The nest is southwest of the first nest this year, all within miles of any incident in North Whatcom County. We will update when we have more information. “

It is the third Asian giant hornet nest to have been in Whatcom County in the past two years.

Earlier this week, the Department of Agriculture confirmed two new reports of sightings of Asian giant hornets by the public in northern Whatcom County.

Crews tagged a live hornet and released it to trace back to a potential nest, according to a Facebook post by the Department of Agriculture on Thursday. It is not yet known whether the second nest reported on Friday was this way.

Thursday’s Post also reported on the first successful bottle trap catch of an Asian giant hornet this year.

0826 Murder Hornet.JPG The Washington State Department of Agriculture found nearly 1,500 Asian giant hornets – commonly known as “Murder Hornets” – when it wiped out the first invasive species nest in Whatcom County, Washington State Department, on Wednesday, August 25, 2021 this year Courtesy The Bellingham Herald

First ‘murder hornet’ nest

Friday’s news comes a little over two weeks after the Department of Agriculture successfully wiped out a giant Asian hornet nest east of Blaine and about a quarter of a mile from the Canadian border.

Almost 1,500 Asian giant hornets in various stages of development were found in this nest, the department said in a press release at the time.

Community reports of Asian giant hornet sightings earlier this summer resulted in the tagging and tracking of hornets, leading experts to the nest they wiped out on Aug 25, which was the first nest sighted in the U.S. that year.

Another nest in Whatcom County was found and wiped out last year.

The first nest of the year was found at the base of a dead, decaying alder in a rural area of ​​the county east of Blaine.

While most of the 1,500 or so hornets were destroyed, Sven Spichiger, executive entomologist for the Department of Agriculture, said some non-breeding hornets were taken to a laboratory in Wapato for experimental testing.

Although the team captured most of the hornets that escaped during the extermination, Spichiger said that due to their life cycle, those who escaped should die within the next few weeks.

Spichiger said at the time he was confident there weren’t any additional nests, but Friday’s news showed otherwise.

“We are very grateful to the public who helped us this time with their reports,” said Spichiger after he had exterminated the first nest. “The people who originally reported the live hornets allowed us unhindered access to their property. We really can’t do this if people aren’t as helpful as they were. We are grateful that the landowners on which the nest was found were so cooperative. “

What are “murder hornets”?

With a length of up to 5 cm, the Asian giant hornet or Vespa mandarinia is the largest hornet species in the world. They can be recognized by their large yellow-orange heads. The hornets are known for their painful stings.

They attack people and pets when threatened and attempted to attack the team that wiped out their nest in August, despite the team’s hornet suits preventing team members from being stung. People around them should be extremely careful, state agricultural officials said, and those who are allergic to bee or wasp stings should never approach a giant Asian hornet, according to previous reports in the Bellingham Herald.

The invasive hornets are feared because of the threat they pose to honeybees, including the valuable crops in Washington state that pollinate the bees, including blueberries and other sugar cane crops in the area, which includes Whatcom County.

They also prey on local pollinators like wasps, which pose a threat to the local ecosystem, state entomologists said.

Prior to the sightings that led to the discovery of the two nests in Whatcom County that year, a dead Asian giant hornet was found near Marysville in mid-June.

The Department of Agriculture will continue to catch Asian giant hornets through late November, according to a previous press release, adding that trap building instructions can be found on the agency’s website.

The Department of Agriculture’s annual budget for promoting, tracking and eradicating the Asian giant hornet is approximately $ 650,000, Spichiger said.

DSC_2995.JPG The Washington State Department of Agriculture found nearly 1,500 Asian giant hornets – commonly known as “Murder Hornets” – when it wiped out the first invasive species nest in Whatcom County, Washington State Department, on Wednesday, August 25, 2021 this year Courtesy The Bellingham Herald

Discover a “murder hornet”?

Washington state residents can report possible sightings of a giant Asian hornet online at agr.wa.gov/hornets, email [email protected], or calling the state Department of Agriculture at 1-800-443-6684.

Snap a picture or keep a sample if you can. They are required for confirmation.

Instructions for capturing Citizen Science are also provided on the website.

You can find out more about the efforts of the Asian Giant Hornets division at facebook.com/groups/hornets.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and is now breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.

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