Asian Giant Hornet

In this May 7 file photo, state Department of Agriculture entomologist Chris Looney displays a dead Asian giant hornet, a sample brought in from Japan for research in Blaine.

As local officials and community members diligently try to trap Asian giant hornets, the state has posted new resources to help identify the species, which is dangerous to bees and other insects.

The state Department of Agriculture has launched a website titled “Don’t Squish Me!” It helps people differentiate the newly arrived hornet from similar-looking insects such as the Western cicada killer, which is a wasp; the paper wasp, which has a similar body but different markings from the sought-after hornet; and the sawfly, which looks similar to wasps or hornets but is a nonvenomous insect that can’t sting.

Anacortes Parks and Recreation Director Jonn Lunsford said the resource will be a boon as community members join in the effort to spot or capture the Asian giant hornet.

“It helps us all,” he said.

Lunsford’s department helped disperse 10 traps among various agencies including the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Skagit County Parks and Recreation and the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe. Lunsford said a community member the department has previously worked with added an 11th trap to the network. So far, no hornets have been captured in Skagit County.

For those who want to construct and monitor their own traps, Lunsford encourages them to get in touch with the state Department of Agriculture.

More information can be found on the department website, and questions can be directed to the department’s pest program at 1-800-443-6684.

Asian giant hornets are predators of other insects and particularly menacing to honey bees. A group of hornets can destroy a honey bee hive in a few hours. They generally don’t attack humans but can sting when threatened.

The first hornets found in the United States were discovered in Blaine late last year. There were subsequent confirmed discoveries in Custer and Blaine, as well as several in British Columbia.

Reporter Trevor Pyle: 360-416-2156, tpyle@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Sports_SVH, Facebook.com/bytrevorpyle

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