Asian giant hornet nest found in Washington state

First Live ‘murder Hornet’ Of 2021 Spotted Attacking A Wasp Nest In Washington
Ted S. Warren

FILE - In this May 4, 2020, file photo, an Asian giant hornet from Japan is held on a pin by Sven Spichiger, an entomologist with the Washington state Dept. of Agriculture in Olympia, Wash. Scientists in the U.S. and Canada are opening new fronts in the war against the so-called murder hornets as the giant insects begin establishing nests this spring. The scientists said Wednesday, March 17, 2021, the battle to prevent the apex predators from establishing a foothold in North America is being fought mostly in Whatcom County, Washington and the nearby Fraser Valley of British Columbia, where the hornets have been spotted in recent years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

BLAINE, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say they have found the first Asian giant hornet nest of 2021 in a rural area in Washington state, about a quarter-mile from where a resident reported seeing one of the hornets earlier this month.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture narrowed the search area on Tuesday and located the nest east of Blaine on Thursday, department officials said.

Crews found the nest after they followed a hornet that was equipped with a tracking device, KOMO reported. Crews were able to net and tag three hornets between Aug. 11 – Aug. 17.

State entomologists will now develop a plan to eradicate the nest, most likely next week.

The 2-inch-long (5-centimeter-long) invasive insects, first found near the U.S.-Canadian border in December 2019, are native to Asia and pose a threat to honeybees and native hornet species. While not particularly aggressive toward humans, their sting is extremely painful and repeated stings, though rare, can kill.

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