In this Oct. 24, 2020 file photo a Washington State Department of Agriculture worker displays an Asian giant hornet taken from a nest, in Blaine, Wash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Elaine Thompson

In this Oct. 24, 2020 file photo a Washington State Department of Agriculture worker displays an Asian giant hornet taken from a nest, in Blaine, Wash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Elaine Thompson

First live ‘murder hornet’ sighted near U.S.-Canada border, say scientists

World’s biggest hornets and prey on honey bees

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Scientists from the Washington State Department of Agriculture say they’ve found the first so-called live murder hornet for the year.

In a news release Thursday, entomologists say the Asian giant hornet was seen about a kilometre from the U.S.-Canada border.

They say the hornet was reported by a Whatcom County resident on Wednesday and confirmed the following day where a photograph showed it attacking a paper wasp nest, about three kilometres from where the department eradicated a nest last October.

They say U.S. and B.C. officials will be setting up traps in the area to catch a live hornet, tag it and track it back to its nest.

The five-centimetre-long invasive insects are the world’s biggest hornets and prey on honey bees and other hornets — a small group can kill an entire honey bee hive in a matter of hours.

While they are not particularly aggressive toward humans, in rare cases a person stung repeatedly by murder hornets could die.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2021.