Two more Asian Giant Hornets have been found in Washington state, according to agriculture officials.
An aggressive species of insect, Asian Giant Hornets pose a major risk to bee colonies and have been dubbed “murder hornets.”
In a statement, the Washington State Department of Agriculture said it was setting up experimental traps with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Birch Bay area when officials found a trap set by a local beekeeper who partners with WSDA. Inside the trap was a dead worker Asian Giant Hornet.
The dead worker Asian giant hornet. (Whatcom County/Washington State Department of Agriculture)
The dead hornet was found on Aug. 19 in the same area where an unmated Queen Asian Giant Hornet was trapped in July.
“The worker was considerably smaller than the specimens detected up to that point – underscoring the fact that Asian giant range in size from 1.5 inches (or even less) to 2 inches,” officials said in the statement. “This is a good reminder for those checking traps to keep their eyes open for smaller specimens, too.”
Another Asian Giant Hornet was photographed on Aug. 18 by a member of the public who was dining at a local restaurant.
“They were dining outside when the Asian giant hornet flew up,” said the Washington State Department of Agriculture in its statement. “They were able to get a photograph of the hornet but it flew off without being captured.”
The Washington Invasive Species Council notes that there are several insect species that resemble the Asian Giant Hornet.
The first ever U.S. sightings of Asian Giant Hornets were made in Washington State during the winter of 2019, according to the USDA.
“They are equipped with relatively massive mandibles (teeth) and can easily tear honey bees in half,” the USDA said in a statement. “Usually, these hornets will not attack honey bees until late summer or early fall, when workers are feeding new queens and males within the colony that will emerge to mate in the fall.”
The New York Times has reported that, in Japan, Asian Giant Hornets kill up to 50 people a year. However, EarthSky, citing an entomologist who has lived in Japan, reports that the description of Asian Giant Hornets as “murder hornets” is misleading.
Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia and Robert Gearty contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers