WSDA faces challenges with third Asian giant hornet’s nest

It’s been a busy week for the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), which is in the process of eradicating its third Asian giant hornet nest of the year.

The department discovered its second nest of the year on September 10 and exterminated it the next day.

The second nest in 2021 has failed. A third is in the same general area. We are now working on plans for eradication. More updates will follow in the next week.

– Washington State Department of Agriculture (@WSDAgov) September 11, 2021

Karla Salp, public engagement specialist at WSDA, told TVW this week that the search for the nest was very quick.

“You have marked [the hornets with GPS trackers] and found the nest within a couple of hours, ”she said.

State sucks 100 hornets from the first Asian giant hornet nest of the year in Whatcom County

The third nest is a little more difficult to eradicate, although the WSDA is still hoping to do so next week.

“The third nest is about 20 feet high in a tree, so we need to get and bring special equipment,” said Salp.

The good news is that neither the first nor the second nest produced queens, it is the hornets that fly away and find new nests. It is not known whether the third nest produced queens.

The goal is to find and eradicate every single nest before the hornets hibernate for the winter to prevent these new nests from being built by the queens over the next year.

“A hornet’s nest could produce up to 300 new queens who could produce new nests,” said Salp. “That would be a kind of worst-case scenario here.”

That is why the department does not take a break even after the third nest has been exterminated and continues to search diligently for new hornets and nests.

“Even if we miss a nest, we will continue this process next year,” said Salp. “So the goal is to get them all.”

So far, all nests near Blaine have been within a few miles. The single nest found last year was also discovered here.

However, this week a suspicious insect was sighted near Nooksack, more than 20 miles east of where the hornets and hornet nests were sighted. WSDA entomologists were unable to confirm the photo was really a giant hornet, but found it looked similar, which worried them; If it really was a hornet, that could indicate that it has spread much more widely than originally thought.

We received a worrying report today from a suspected #AsianGiantHornet – the location is much further east than any confirmed sighting. We cannot clearly identify this picture, size, colors and shape are in accordance with AGH. Keep your eyes open and cell phones close at hand in this area!

– Washington State Department of Agriculture (@WSDAgov) September 17, 2021

Much of the department’s discoveries are thanks to photos submitted to the WSDA’s hornet sighting site by people in Whatcom County. Salp thanked the public for their help, noting that every photo taken, hornet chase, and eradicated nest makes a huge difference in preventing the hornets from gaining a foothold.

“At least our efforts are slowing down [the hornets’] spread, ”said Salp.

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