Asian giant hornets sighted in US for first time, UC Davis entomologists say media exaggerated severity of issue

From The Aggie
May 22, 2020

Despite sightings of giant hornet species, spread through North America highly unlikely, experts say 

Giant, tiger-striped insects have been making quite the buzz lately. Vespa mandarinia, or the Asian giant hornet, typically lives in eastern and southeastern Asia, but two individuals of the species were sighted in the U.S. for the first time.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) verified two reports of the Asian giant hornets near Blaine, Washington in December of 2019. One report was of a dead hornet, while the other was of one spotted flying back into the forest. Additionally, a giant hornet nest was found and destroyed in a park south of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.

In Washington, neither the second hornet nor its nest were found, but researchers are fairly confident their removal efforts were successful. In April, Blaine local authorities alerted residents to the possible threat and asked them to stay vigilant, according to the WSDA.

“They found a dead individual and were able to confirm that, yes, this is Vespa mandarinia,” said Eleanor Field, a doctoral candidate in entomology from Iowa State. “Then the same resident also said, ‘Hey, I saw another one and it went off into the woods.’ That means we have one confirmed dead individual and another presumed confirmed sighting.”

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