The first live Asian Giant 'Murder Hornet' of 2021 has been seen in Washington State

A sample specimen of a dead Asian giant hornet, also known as a "murder hornet," from July 2020 in Bellingham, Wash.NPR

Washington state has observed the first live Asian big "murder hornet" of 2021, which was caught in the act of assaulting a wasp nest.

Vespa Mandarina, the world's largest hornet and a hazardous invasive species from East Asia and Japan, was confirmed by entomologists on Thursday.

Sven Spichiger, a state entomologist with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, stated in a press release that the hornet is behaving the same way it did last year — attacking paper wasp nests.

An Asian giant hornet nest was destroyed in October approximately 2 miles away from where the sighting verified on Thursday took place.

It was discovered on a lawn in Marysville, Wash., some 60 miles south of Blaine.

Agriculturists at the time speculated that the hornet in issue was likely leftover from last year's season, even though it was the first observation in 2021.

According to the state agricultural agency, honeybees have more to worry about than the paper wasps that were attacked by the Asian giant hornet.

"These hornets may attack honey bee colonies in the late summer or early fall," according to a news release from the department's press office. This means that "a tiny group of Asiatic hornets may wipe out an entire honey bee colony in only a few hours."

It's unclear how Vespa Mmandarinia arrived in the United States, but there have been a number of sightings in Washington since 2019.

Each year in Japan and China, hornets' deadly venom and huge stingers kill hundreds of people. The United States, on the other hand, has yet to register a single fatality.

In any event, Spichiger advises: "Check for paper wasp nests on your property and report any Asian giant hornets that you observe. Also, take note of the direction in which they take off."

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