BLAINE, Wash. (AP) — Washington state agriculture workers have have trapped their first Asian giant hornet.

The hornet was found July 14 in a bottle trap set north of Seattle near the Canadian border, and state entomologists confirmed its identity Wednesday, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

The Asian giant hornet, the world’s largest at 2 inches, can decimate entire hives of honeybees and deliver a painful sting to humans. Farmers in the northwest depend on those honey bees to pollinate many crops such as apples, blueberries and cherries.

The invasive insect was first documented in the state late last year and officials have said it's not known how it arrived in North America. It normally lives in the forests and low mountains of eastern and southeast Asia.

Asian Giant Hornets Trapped

FILE - In this May 7, 2020, file photo, Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologist Chris Looney displays a dead Asian giant hornet, a sample brought in from Japan for research in Blaine, Wash. Washington state agriculture workers have trapped their first Asian giant hornet. The hornet was found July 14 in a bottle trap set north of Seattle near the Canadian border, and state entomologists confirmed its identity Wednesday, July 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, Pool, File)

The recently-trapped hornet in Washington is the first found in a trap rather than in the environment as the state’s five previous confirmed sightings were.

“This is encouraging because it means we know that the traps work,” Sven Spichiger, managing entomologist for the department said in a news release. “But it also means we have work to do.”

The state now plans to search for nests using infrared cameras and place additional traps that try to capture hornets alive. If they catch live hornets, the agriculture department will try to tag and track them back to their colony so the colony can be eradicated.

Officials hope to destroy any nests by mid-September, before the colony would begin creating new reproducing queens.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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(4) comments

Merlin

No doubt a direct result of COVID-19.

Charlatan

No doubt?

I have plenty.

Where's your evidence?

Beyondthewhy

No doubt you do have plenty. Where's the evidence to back up your notion that the 18 year old threw a firecracker from your post several days ago?

R. V. Jones

Genetically engineered worldwide obliteration of this hornet species should be a top goal.

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