Just When You Thought it Couldn’t Get Worse

By On
• In Bellingham,

In case you missed the small article in the 4/13/20 Seattle Times, apparently there have been four sightings (two unconfirmed but probable) of the giant Asian hornet in Washington recently. All four sightings were in Whatcom County.

These ground-dwelling hornets measure a whopping 1.5 - 2 inches in length, have a yellow-orange head, and striped body. They have a stinger that is longer than a typical hornet, but are not particularly aggressive toward humans, unless you swat at them or interfere with their underground nests. On the other hand, a single sting can deliver a larger dose of venom and the venom is more toxic than local bees and wasps. According to the Department of Agriculture website, a person who is allergic to bee or wasp stings should never approach an Asian giant hornet.

The hornets can and will destroy a honeybee colony in a few hours, in an attempt to get to the honey and/or protein (the brood.) Because honeybees are already facings threats from pesticides and mite infections, and because farmers rely on bees for crop pollination, DoA plans to begin trapping queen Asian hornets this spring. Their emphasis will be on Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and San Juan counties. The Department of Agriculture would like to enlist your help and asks that you report any sighting by notifying them directly or using their smartphone app, WA Invasives.

One further recommendation from DoA: “If you encounter an Asian giant hornet, slowly and calmly leave the area… If you encounter several hornets, run…”

About Deb Gaber

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Member since Jul 20, 2009

Comments by Readers

Steve Harris

Apr 20, 2020

I saw this story in, The Northern Light back in January…..scary!  My sister and her husband keep bees in Eastern WA and this is just one other thing they now have to worry about.  

If you’ve ever watched or read, The Hunger Games these hornets remind of “tracker jackers”...

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