If a bee is fuzzy - let it be

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Asian giant hornets are two inches long and so far have only been found in Whatcom county.
These are the Bad Guys and should be captured live and reported. Photo courtesy WSDA

Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is still hunting Asian giant hornets in Washington state, primarily in Whatcom county. They ask citizens to capture the hornet alive. WSDA tags them and tracks them back to their hives, which are then destroyed.

WSDA found and destroyed four related nests in the fall near Blaine on the Canadian border.

The 'murder hornets' are invasive predators that prey on other bees and can destroy an entire honeybee hive or native hornet nest in just a few hours. The hornets enter a "slaughter phase" where they kill bees by decapitating them. They then defend the hive as their own, taking the brood to feed their own young.

Good Guys: Black tailed bumblebees
Photo by Jacqueline Freeman

WSDA received the first bumble submission for 2022 as a possible Asian giant hornet and it was a bumblebee. "Luckily the bumblebee was found dead and was not killed by the submitter." 

As the weather starts to warm bumblebee queens will be emerging – don’t kill them! 

Good Guys: Yellow faced bumblebee
Photo by Anna Brown 

Bumblebees are hairy, hornets are not. If you see a fuzzy bee, let it be! 

During February, residents of Washington might see or hear Black-tailed bumble bees, and yellow-faced bumble bees. Both bumbles visit a variety of plants and pollinate as they go. 

You can report a suspected Asian giant hornet sighting online or by sending an email to hornets@agr.wa.gov or calling 1-800-443-6684.

--Diane Hettrick


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