Much Ado About Hornets
by Dave Pehling With the recent article in the NY Times with a title meant to scare readers and the follow-up stories from most of the local media, our club and WSDA is receiving lots of panicked emails from concerned citizens and some folks are even killing our native bumble bees out of fear and ignorance! For those of us south of Whatcom County, there is certainly no reason to panic! First, there has only been ONE confirmed specimen identified in Washington and that was near Blain in December 2019 when a homeowner found a dead one that was positively identified by WSDA. The resident also reported seeing a live giant hornet at a humming bird feeder. Finally, a beekeeper in Custer had a suspicious dead-out showing symptoms of a possible but unproven Asian Giant Hornet attack.
There are no known sightings of Asian giant hornets anywhere else in the United States so reports from elsewhere are probably false. A GOOD photo, or better, a dead specimen MUST be supplied for positive identification. WSDA has a map showing all the reported “sightings” in Washington Note that there is ONE and only one confirmed sighting at this time. Dr. Looney at WSDA is being inundated with reports and as far as I know, is the only person hired to deal with pest. That is why educating the public is so important as probably all of those “in process sightings” are false. So with that, if you want the most accurate information on Asian GIANT Hornet (not “Asian hornet”, another species invading Europe) be sure to check out the WSDA website. You can even take part in helping with the official survey if you have the urge to help for 17 weeks this season. All necessary information is supplied in the link.