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Photo of a male Asian giant hornet trapped in Custer on July 29, 2020. Source: WSDA

Experts surprised by 7th Asian giant hornet caught in a trap

FERNDALE, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) reported today they trapped a male Asian giant hornet – the first male Asian giant hornet to be detected in the United States according to today’s WSDA news release.

The hornet was caught in a WSDA Asian giant hornet bottle trap near Custer, Whatcom County, where a mated queen was found dead earlier this year and a suspected bee kill was reported in 2019. The trap was collected on July 29 and processed in WSDA’s entomology lab on August 13.
 
“Trapping a male Asian giant hornet in July initially came as a surprise,” Sven Spichiger, WSDA managing entomologist said. “But further examination of the research and consultation with international experts confirmed that a few males can indeed emerge early in the season.”
 
WSDA will be setting live traps in the area in an attempt to trap a live Asian giant hornet, tag it, and track it back to its nest. If WSDA is able to locate a nest, the agency will eradicate it.
 
This is the second Asian giant hornet caught in a WSDA trap. The first was caught on July 14. Entomologists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) subsequently identified that hornet as an unmated queen. The two trapped specimens bring the total number of Asian giant hornets detected in the state to seven – all of them in Whatcom County.
 
In addition to the traps that WSDA has set to catch Asian giant hornets, citizen scientists and other cooperators have placed more than 1,400 traps throughout the state. Those interested in trapping can still build and set traps on their own property. Traps require weekly bait replacement and a commitment to mail the trap contents to WSDA if bees or wasps are collected. If a citizen scientist traps a live Asian giant hornet, they should call the WSDA Pest Program hotline at 1-800-443-6684.
 
Because Asian giant hornet workers increase as a colony develops, they are most likely seen in August and September. If you think you have seen one, report it at agr.wa.gov/hornets. Provide as much detail as you can about what you saw and where. Include a photo if you can safely obtain one. If you come across a dead specimen keep it for potential testing.
 
Visit WSDA’s website at agr.wa.gov/hornets to learn more about Asian giant hornets. You can also submit questions the WSDA Pest Program at hornets@agr.wa.gov or 1-800-443-6684.

Washington State Department of Agriculture news release (August 16, 2020)

WSDA “citizen scientists” and cooperators have reportedly placed over 1,400 traps throughout the Washington state according to WSDA. Trap operators send weekly reports and trap content submissions to WSDA.

A WSDA press conference is planned for this afternoon. This story will be updated if more details are made available.

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Photo of a male Asian giant hornet trapped in Custer on July 29, 2020. Source: WSDA
Photo of a male Asian giant hornet trapped in Custer on July 29, 2020. Source: WSDA

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