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B.C. and Washington state team up to kill ‘murder hornets’

WATCH: The Washington State Department of Agriculture, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are holding a joint virtual press conference regarding the Asian giant hornet.

Officials in B.C. and Washington state are teaming up to battle a common enemy — the murder hornet.

Officials are hoping to kill off the Asian giant hornet that has been found on both sides of the border after first being spotted in Nanaimo in 2019.

Click to play video: 'B.C. and Washington State band together to battle Asian giant hornet' B.C. and Washington State band together to battle Asian giant hornet
B.C. and Washington State band together to battle Asian giant hornet – Mar 17, 2021

Late last year, a nest was discovered and destroyed in nearby Whatcom County, just over the border, but experts believe there are more in the area.

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Read more: Crews use vacuum to destroy nest of ‘murder hornets’ in Washington near B.C. border

The real threat from Asian giant hornets — which are two inches (5 cm) long — is their devastating attacks on honeybees, which are already under siege from problems like mites, diseases, pesticides and loss of food.

Click to play video: 'Scientists remove 98 murder hornets from Washington state nest near B.C. border' Scientists remove 98 murder hornets from Washington state nest near B.C. border
Scientists remove 98 murder hornets from Washington state nest near B.C. border – Oct 26, 2020

The invasive insect is normally found in China, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam and other countries in Asia. Washington state and B.C. are the only places the hornets have been found on the continent.

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“This is not a B.C. problem or a Washington state problem, this is a collective problem that we need to address,” Paul van Westendorp, the provincial apiculturist for B.C.’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries told the media Wednesday.

“We do not work in isolation.”

This year, van Westendorp said they will be setting up more traps in the Fraser Valley and they will be monitored on a weekly basis.

The hope, he said, is if they have no more sightings by the end of 2021, “it would suggest hornets don’t like British Columbia and we would be very happy if that was the case.”

Read more: ‘Murder hornet’ nest discovered near British Columbia border

Click to play video: 'Two ‘murder hornet’ queens captured days after first nest destroyed in U.S.' Two ‘murder hornet’ queens captured days after first nest destroyed in U.S.
Two ‘murder hornet’ queens captured days after first nest destroyed in U.S – Oct 29, 2020

Eradicating the hornet nests is of great importance now because their life cycle typically begins next month when the queens emerge from hibernation.

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Last year, no sightings or collection of Asian giant hornets were reported on Vancouver Island, which could be declared Asian giant hornet-free if no specimens are reported this year, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) confirmed.

The public has also been instrumental in battling the Asian giant hornets. Last year, the WSDA said half of the confirmed reports in Washington and all of the confirmed reports in B.C. were from members of the public.

Click to play video: 'Biggest danger of Asian giant hornets is not knowing a nest is nearby, experts say' Biggest danger of Asian giant hornets is not knowing a nest is nearby, experts say
Biggest danger of Asian giant hornets is not knowing a nest is nearby, experts say – Mar 17, 2021

“We had so much help,” Sven Spichiger with the WSDA said Wednesday.

“One-thousand-two-hundred people chose to hang traps and service them on their own dime.”

Spichiger said this year they have discovered a new mixture to attract the hornets, used on the east coast, will be a better bait than they have discovered before. This mix is one cup of brown sugar and one cup of water.

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The focus for the WSDA this year will be in northern Whatcom County, he added.

Washington residents are asked to continue to report all sightings of Asian giant hornets to WSDA, via email or by calling 1-800-443-6684. British Columbians who think they may have seen an Asian giant hornet can report their findings to the Invasive Species Council of BC’s website, calling at 1-888-933-3722, or via the council’s “Report Invasives” mobile phone app.

Click to play video: 'Officials paying close attention to Vancouver Island, could declare it Asian giant hornet-free if no reports this year' Officials paying close attention to Vancouver Island, could declare it Asian giant hornet-free if no reports this year
Officials paying close attention to Vancouver Island, could declare it Asian giant hornet-free if no reports this year – Mar 17, 2021

— with files from The Associated Press

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