Officials in B.C., Washington state team up against invasive giant hornets

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Officials with the British Columbia and Washington state agriculture departments along with U.S. federal agencies are teaming up to trap, track and destroy invasive Asian giant hornets, which threaten honeybees.

The so-called murder hornets have been found on both sides of the border, in B.C.'s Fraser Valley, on Vancouver Island and in Blaine, Wash., where a nest containing nearly 200 queens was discovered and destroyed last year.

A full news conference on the governments' plans is set for Wednesday, but Washington's Agriculture Department says in a release it's preparing to bait and trap this year along with a strong emphasis on help from the public.

The release says the focus in Washington will be in Whatcom County, where Asian giant hornets were detected in 2019 and 2020, while B.C.'s surveillance program will include traps where hornets have been found.

The hornets are considered a serious honeybee predator with a large orange head, mandibles and a wingspan up to seven centimetres.

The statement says public reports have been crucial for locating the pests and both B.C. and Washington are urging residents to be on the lookout.

The hornet's life cycle begins in April when queens emerge from hibernation, to feed on sap and fruit and look for nesting grounds.

Washington is encouraging residents in several counties to participate in trapping starting in July using orange juice or a brown sugar-based bait.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press