By Grace McCarthy
The Northern Light 

The Asian giant hornets are back and being tracked in east Blaine


Last updated 8/20/2021 at 9:52am

Photo courtesy of WSDA

WSDA entomologists feed an Asian giant hornet strawberry jelly before attempting to track the hornet to its nest on August 13.

Many might have cheered at the eradicated Asian giant hornet nest last year, but the fight against the invasive species isn't over in Whatcom County. The first live Asian giant hornets found in 2021 were recently detected in east Blaine, just two miles from where the first nest in the U.S. was eradicated in October, and scientists are now looking for a nest.

On August 11, a worker hornet was photographed preying on a paper wasp nest under the eaves of a house near H Street Road, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) map of reported hornet sightings. The state agency confirmed the sighting August 12.

"This hornet is exhibiting the same behavior we saw last year – attacking paper wasp nests," WSDA managing entomologist Sven Spichiger said in a statement. "If you have paper wasp nests on your property and live in the area, keep an eye on them and report any Asian giant hornets you see. Note which direction they fly off as well."

State entomologists captured a live worker hornet August 12 and August 13 on the homeowner's property and another on the neighboring property, WSDA public engagement specialist Karla Salp said.

In attempt to track the two hornets back to their nest on August 13, scientists placed radio tags on the hornets, fed them strawberry jam for energy before flying and then released the hornets. The hornets stayed in the area for a couple of hours before they flew away.

On August 14, the scientists found one of the radio tags that wasn't attached to a hornet. By press time, scientists were still searching for the second radio tag but were being slowed because of dense vegetation.

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