PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Authorities have tracked down the first Asian giant hornet nest of the year in Washington, days after a live hornet was reported at a rural property.
The nest was found Thursday morning about a quarter-mile from where a resident reported the sighting on Aug. 11 in a rural area east of Blaine, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, which helped in the search.
In the week that followed the sighting, Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) staff caught and tagged three of the invasive pests with trackers. They then released them in the hopes that the hornets would lead them back to their nest. Officials said one hornet slipped out of the tracking device and another hornet was never found. But the third hornet was the key to finding the nest.
Officials with WSDA had narrowed the search area by Tuesday. Staff with the WSDA, the USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the ODA worked together to spot the nest two days later.
“Teamwork has been the key to success with this effort,” Sven Spichiger, WSDA managing entomologist said. “Whether it is the public reporting sightings and building traps or state and federal agencies working together, this is really a model for success in invasive species management.”
The nest has not yet been destroyed. Entomologists with the WSDA are working on a plan to do so sometime next week.
While one nest has been found, there may still be others. Sightings in Washington can be reported here. No Asian giant hornets have been confirmed in Oregon but suspected sightings in the state can be reported here.
The WSDA is currently hosting field training to help trap Asian giant hornets. Staff will go through several training sessions and exercises in hornet detection in the state, including live trap construction, how to capture and tag, and how to use full-body protection gear.