First ‘Murder Hornet’ of 2021 Has Been Discovered in a New Part of U.S.

Nature

A giant ‘murder hornet’ has just been discovered in a new area of the United States. The dead insect was found in a county of Washington state just north of Seattle in early June by a member of the public.

Sample specimen of a dead Asian giant hornet

(Photo : Getty Images)

Asian Giant Hornet 

DNA testing has given a confirmation that it is an Asian giant hornet, or Vespa mandarinia. Since the corpse was exceptionally dry, researchers believe it’s been dead for some time, and is probably a remnant from last season. Being male – which does not usually emerge until July or later – increases the case for it being an older specimen. At the time, no one knew there were giant hornets this far south.

The first nests of Asian giant hornets were found in British Columbia and the United States in late 2019 and early 2020, right close to the border of Canada. How the hornets got to this part of the world is still unknown, but due to the fact that these pests can behead whole hives of bees in just few hours, they represent a great threat to agriculture and local ecosystems. 

Since their existence became known, government officials in Washington state have been setting traps actively for these insects and damaging any nests they discover. But up until now, these efforts have been centered mainly on northwestern parts of the state.

Also Read: Honeybee’s Fear of Killer Hornets Keeps them away from Food Sources

Remnants of Asian Giant Hornet Discovered

 The new corpse, found close to the city of Marysville, proposes officials need to expand their search.

Entomologists, hired by the state, are now actively surveying counties further south, to know if a population exists there also. The DNA and coloring of the remnant discovered in Snohomish county doesn’t seem to match the hornets found on the Canadian border, which suggests there could be an unconnected, and unrelated invasion in other parts of the state.

If that’s true, officials need to be aware sooner rather than later. Because giant hornets are such powerful fliers, their populations can be easily spread, which will make it much difficult to locate their nests for extermination.

Sample specimen of a dead Asian giant hornet

(Photo : Getty Images)

The Trap

Entomologist Sven Spichiger from the Washington State Department of Agriculture said: “This new report keeps emphasizing on how crucial public reporting is for all suspected invasive species, but mostly Asian giant hornet.” Spichiger added saying they will now be setting traps in the location and urging citizen scientists to trap in Snohomish and King counties.

None of this would have occurred without an alert resident taking the time to take a photo and submit a report.

Dormant in winter, giant hornets are anticipated to start appearing once again in July. It remains to be seen where they will appear in 2021, but officials in Washington totally expect these pests to have spread to other parts of the state. 

Related Article: Asian Hornet Warning: Spotted in Hampshire, Dangerous to Bees and Humans

For more news, updates about Asian giant hornets and similar topics don’t forget to follow Nature World News!

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