Two more ‘murder hornets’ found just 13 km from B.C. border

Click to play video: '2 more ‘murder hornets’ spotted in Washington state'
2 more ‘murder hornets’ spotted in Washington state
2 more 'murder hornets' spotted in Washington state – Aug 29, 2020

Two more Asian giant hornets have been found in Washington state, just 13 kilometres from B.C.’s border.

The insects, formally known as Vespa mandarinia but sometimes called ‘murder hornets,’ are invasive to the region and known to devastate honeybee colonies.

Both hornets were found in Birch Bay, just south of Blaine and a 20-minute drive from the Peace Arch border crossing.

Click to play video: 'Asian giant hornet captured in Washington State'
Asian giant hornet captured in Washington State

One was discovered dead in a trap on Aug. 19, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) said in a Friday bulletin.

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The hornet was smaller than previous specimens, which the agency said is a reminder that they can vary in size from about 3.5 to five centimetres.

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The other was reported to officials by a resident who had photographed it at a Birch Bay restaurant on Aug. 18 before it flew away.

In July, the WSDA captured its first-ever live Asian giant hornet specimen. And earlier this month, the agency caught its first male of the species.

Officials have now documented at least nine of the insects, all of them in Whatcom County which abuts the B.C. border.

The WSDA is working to capture live hornets, with the goal of fitting them with tiny radio tags. The hornets would then be released, and lead officials back to their nest so it can be eradicated.

The WSDA said after the two most recent specimens were found, it began setting new traps in the Birch Bay area.

A colony of the hornets was found in B.C. for the first time last fall, near Nanaimo, and was destroyed.

Residents of the Zero Avenue area along the U.S. border have been asked to watch for the insects.

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Anyone who sees one of the Asian giant hornets in B.C. is urged to immediately contact the Invasive Species Council of B.C. at 1-888-933-3722, or through its website.

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