The first sighting of so-called “murder hornets” this year has been reported in Washington state.

Also known as Asian giant hornets, the report was made by a Whatcom County resident on August 11.

 

After entomologists from Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) reviewed the photograph of a hornet attacking a paper wasp nest,

it was confirmed to be an Asian giant hornet on August 12.

The WSDA will set traps to try to catch it and track it back to its nest.

 

Traps have already been set throughout the state and there had not been any detections so far this year.

What Are “Murder Hornets” And What Do They Look Like?

Asian giant hornets are not native to the U.S. and are an invasive species.

They are more commonly found in areas of Asia, from India to Japan, and have even been spotted in parts of Russia.

It is not clear how they first arrived in North America, though one theory is that they may have been accidentally transported in shipping containers.

They are among the largest species of wasp in the world.

They typically have an orange head and a dark thorax with yellow, black and brown bands across their abdomens.

How Big Are Murder Hornets?

Queens of an Asian giant hornet colony are larger than the rest in the nest, growingup to two inches long.

The workers are slightly smaller, usually measuring about an inch and a half.

Are Murder Hornets Dangerous to Humans?

A social species, they live in colonies and usually build their nests underground and fiercely defend them.

Unlike other species, they attack in groups making them far more dangerous.

Their stingers are long and capable of puncturing thick protective clothing like those often worn by beekeepers.

The amount of venom a colony can inject through sustained stinging makes them a danger to young children and people with underlying health conditions, though hornets do not often seek out humans and pose a much larger threat to honeybees.

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