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Asian giant hornet. Source: WSDA

Asian giant hornet found in Custer was a queen

FERNDALE, Wash. — Officials with the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) announced today the Asian giant hornet found in Custer was a queen and was mated.

During a press conference last week after the queen had be found dead on the ground, WSDA Managing Entomologist Sven Spichiger said the immediate plan was to locate and eradicate any nests. WSDA officials today said in an email, had this queen started a nest, “it will not survive without her. This is effectively one colony down for 2020!”

WSDA also announced recently that they will place about 300 traps for Asian giant hornets in Whatcom County as they begin their annual hunt for pests that threaten the state’s environment and agriculture industry.

Trappers will set thousands of traps statewide to monitor for the introduction or spread of over 120 invasive pests and diseases, including gypsy moth, Asian giant hornet, apple maggot and Japanese beetle.

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State law gives WSDA authority to trap for invasive pests on private property. In the past, trappers would nevertheless attempt to obtain permission from property owners before hanging traps. This year, due to COVID-19 concerns, WSDA has a “no knock” policy, and trappers will place traps without first contacting homeowners. This is to protect both the community and WSDA employees.

WSDA trappers are identifiable by the safety vests they wear bearing “WSDA” on the back. If you want a trap removed from your property before the end of the trapping season, please call 1-800-443-6684.

A live streamed talk about Asian giant hornets by Dr. Chris Looney will be available to view online tonight, June 2, by Pacific Science Center on YouTube at 7pm. Looney will be available to answer questions posted in the live stream chat according to event organizers.

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