The Washington State Department of Agriculture located the first Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S. on October 22, a state agency spokesperson confirmed to The Northern Light.
The nest was located in a tree off Burk Road in east Blaine around 4 p.m. after about two hours of tracking, said Karla Salp, WSDA public engagement specialist.
WSDA officials found two live hornets in an east Blaine WSDA trap on October 21, and were kept alive to be tracked on October 22. Salp said the first hornet wouldn’t take flight but the entomologists followed the second hornet for about two hours until it led them to the nest, located on the edge of a resident’s property. WSDA tracked the hornet using a new, long-range radio tag.
Salp said the next steps are for the scientists to solidify an eradication plan, which will need to be adapted since they anticipated finding the nest in the ground. They plan to eradicate the nest the morning of Saturday, October 24, she said.
WSDA officials believe there is at least one other nest in north Whatcom County after detections in Birch Bay, Custer and within the city of Blaine this year.
The world’s largest hornet is thought to have arrived in North America last year through international trade. Researchers have been working to find nests as the hornet enters its ‘slaughter phase,’ when the hornets are famed for decapitating entire honeybee colonies. Researchers hoped to eradicate the nests before the reproductive hornets emerge at the end of October.