The game of apocalypse BINGO has been a wild one so far in the year 2020. It started with devastating wildfires in Australia. Followed by a close call with world war three. Then the infamous COVID 19 pandemic. But, it didn't stop there. A few weeks into the pandemic and the worldwide lockdown, we learned of yet another threat to those of us in the PNW. The news of giant hornets from Japan invading the US. These "Murder Hornets" are said to be nearly 3 inches long, deadly to humans and can even sting through a bee keepers suit. They also reportedly hunt and kill native honey bees. Which are already having a hard enough time existing as it is.

Well, the fear of murder hornets kind of went away for a couple off weeks. But, now it is back. The Washington Department of Agriculture has confirmed their first captured "murder hornet."

photo courtesy of WSDA
photo courtesy of WSDA

According to the WSDA press release

The hornet was found in a WSDA trap set near Birch Bay in Whatcom County. WSDA trappers checked the bottle trap on July 14 and submitted the contents for processing at WSDA’s entomology lab. The hornet was identified during processing on July 29. This was the first hornet to be detected in a trap, rather than found in the environment as the state’s five previous confirmed sightings were.

WSDA hopes to find and destroy the nest by mid-September before the colony would begin creating new reproducing queens and drones. Until that time, the colony will only contain the queen and worker Asian giant hornets. Destroying the nest before new queens emerge and mate will prevent the spread of this invasive pest. 

What does this mean for us here in Montana? Our hopes are that Washington state can stop this invasive species before they have a chances to spread into the Rockies and beyond.


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