Asian giant hornets are the world’s largest hornet. While they will eat various types of insects, they have a favorite: honey bees. A handful of Asian giant hornets can kill an entire hive of bees in just a few short hours. They then take over the hive and defend it as their own, taking the brood and feeding them to their own young.
In December, WSDA received and confirmed two reports of Asian giant hornet in the areas of Blaine and Bellingham.
Identifying Asian giant hornet
- Usually 1.5 - 2 inches long
- Large orange/yellow heads with prominent eyes
- Black and yellow striped abdomen
- Form large colonies that usually nest in the ground
Asian giant hornet attacks
|Bee kill photos courtesy of Teddy McFall|
- Use the online reporting form at agr.wa.gov/hornets
- Email email@example.com
- Call 1-800-443-6684
When reporting a sighting, please provide as much of the following details as possible:
- Photos of the hornet or beehive damage.
- Your name and contact information.
- The location where the hornet was spotted or the location of the impacted hives.
- Description of the loss or damage to a hive (if photos are not available.)
- Date or approximate date observed.
- Direction of flight when the hornet flew away.
Asian giant hornet imposters
Don’t be fooled! Several native species can be mistaken for the Asian giant hornet.
Paper wasps are more slender and smaller overall compared to the Asian giant hornet. They also do not have an orange/yellow head.
|Photo credit: M. Asche|
|Photo credit: Neil Boyle|
The elm sawfly can be as large, or larger, than the Asian giant hornet. They have a black face and yellow stripes, but they lack a stinger.
Use extreme caution near Asian giant hornets
|Asian giant hornet abdomen and stinger|
Asian giant hornets can sting repeatedly. Those who are allergic to bee or wasp stings should never approach an Asian giant hornet.
Never try to remove an Asian giant hornet nest. If you find an Asian giant hornet nest, report it immediately to WSDA.
Asian giant hornets are not generally aggressive towards humans, pets, or other mammals, but they can attack if they feel threatened. Asian giant hornet stings – especially repeated stings – can require medical attention, even in those who are not normally allergic to bee or wasp stings. Several hornet-related deaths occur each year where they are native in Asia.
Updated on May 22, 2020 to correct the number of confirmed sightings.