Elaine Thompson / AFP via Getty Images
Murder of hornets. They are back.
Authorities in Washington state have announced that they have confirmed the first U.S. report this year of an Asian giant hornet, or Vespa mandarinia, in a city north of Seattle.
“Basically the only information we have is that a slightly withered dead specimen was collected from a lawn in Marysville,” said Sven Spichiger, entomologist in charge of the state’s agriculture department, in a statement. press conference.
“There isn’t even enough information to speculate on how he got there or how long he was there,” Spichiger added.
Due to its withered condition and the fact that male giant hornets usually do not emerge until July, agriculture officials believe the hornet discovered in early June was likely from a previous season and has just been released. discovered.
The so-called “murderous hornets” originate from Asia but have been spotted in Washington state and Canada in the past two years. The bite of the Vespa mandarinia can be life threatening to humans, and killer insects are known to wipe out colonies of their congeners, especially honey bees.
According to genetic testing of the specimen found in Washington this month, the dead hornet was not the same as other giant hornets found in North America since 2019. The hornet’s coloring, which indicates it was from Asia of the South, also suggested that it had happened in “probably a separate event” than those previously known, Spichiger said.
But he stressed that this was not necessarily a cause for alarm.
“I want to make it clear that a single dead specimen does not indicate a population,” Spichiger said.
Washington agriculture officials are now setting deadly hornet traps in the discovery area and encouraging “citizen scientists” to do the same.