Blaine without a hornet buzz this year as trapping ends


Washington state scientists are wrapping up their search for the northern giant hornet this year without detections in Blaine or statewide, but are asking the public to remain vigilant of the world’s largest hornet.

“The public has been responsible for half of our detections,” said Karla Salp, Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) public engagement specialist. “We have traps we know can work but the more people we have continuing to look for the next couple of years will be critical to help eradicate them.”

Northern giant hornets, colloquially known as murder hornets, were first confirmed in the U.S. after a dead hornet was found in Blaine on December 8, 2019. One nest was eradicated in east Blaine in October 2020 and another three nests were eradicated in late summer and fall of 2021.

No hornets were found this year despite the 1,361 traps set by the WSDA and public this summer and fall, when the hornets are most active. The hornet will be considered eradicated from Whatcom County if no hornets are detected through the end of 2024, Salp said. Traps will be set until then.

Salp said she expects WSDA to deploy fewer traps next year because the state agency no longer needs to trap in Bellingham. A hornet was confirmed in north Bellingham in June 2020, but no other detections have been made since.

No hornets were found in B.C. this year and only one decayed hornet was found last year less than one mile from an eradicated east Blaine nest. To date, the only nest in B.C. was eradicated in Nanaimo in fall 2019.

The apex predator was given the murderous nickname for its ability to decapitate an entire honeybee colony in a matter of hours. Blaine residents with confirmed hornet sightings have previously told The Northern Light that the orange-and-black insects sound like humming birds and feed off paper wasp nests. The hornets can grow up to 2 inches.

In late July, the Entomological Society of America officially named the hornet the northern giant hornet, which avoids using a geographical region in the insect’s title. The hornets weren’t officially named before then, WSDA previously said.

WSDA is asking the public to continue reporting any dead or alive hornets they find as the detections will guide future research and the scientists’ trapping efforts next year.

“We appreciate all of the help, whether it’s the beekeepers or the general public, putting out traps and keeping an eye out,” Salp said. “That’s all been critical in our success. We really need to be vigilant over the next couple of years.”

To report a suspected northern giant hornet detection, visit, email or call 800/443-6684.


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