WSDA Pest Program
The Washington State Department of Agriculture
(WSDA) is proposing to add all species in the genus Vespa (hornet) to the list of quarantined pests. The rule we are
proposing would prohibit live life stages of hornet species from being sold,
offered for sale, distributed, or knowingly moved throughout or received within
The proposal adds restrictions to “infested
sites,” defined as all property within 20 meters of a nest containing any live
life stage of hornet.
|The Black Bellied hornet
WSDA will try to notify occupants or owners when
their property is designated as an infested site. Until WSDA determines an area
is not infested, people will need to get authorization to enter the area. This is
to protect the public and prevent more infestation. The proposed rule would
allow WSDA to grant access to an infested site to property owners, occupants,
frequently asked questions
If a nest
is detected on private property, will the owner or occupant be restricted from
accessing or entering their property?
No. Access to property owners and occupants
will not be restricted. Restricting
access within a 20 meter area around the nest is a precaution to protect public
health and safety, prevent further infestation, and ensure the nest is safely
WSDA will remove the nest as soon as possible. Nest
removal depends on the situation and factors such as weather, obstructions, and
equipment availability. Generally, removal will take no longer than two
Will yellowjackets or bald-faced hornets be included in the quarantine?
No. Yellowjackets and bald-faced hornets are
not included in the proposed quarantine. Yellowjackets belong to the genus Vespula and Dolichovespula. Bald-faced hornets (Dolichovespula maculata) are a type of yellowjacket and not a true
all hornets being quarantined rather than only Asian giant hornet?
No hornet species are native to Washington
State. Any hornet introduced here could upset our state’s ecosystem, such as spreading
new pathogens and parasites to native wasps, bees, and yellowjackets.
Washington’s suitable habitat for certain hornet species make it more likely
they will become established once introduced.
|Asian giant hornets on a notebook.
do hornets actually pose?
Hornets pose a direct and indirect risk to
agricultural crops in Washington State. They have been known to feed on fruit
such as pears, peaches, plums, grapes, berries, and apples, making the fruit
unfit for human consumption. Hornets attack honey bees and native insect
populations. Managed honey bees and native insects are important pollinators
vital to agricultural production. If hornets were to become established in
Washington, our economy and ecology could be severely affected.
Hornets can also pose a risk to human health. The
venom in their sting can be toxic. And unlike bees, they can sting repeatedly.
A hornet sting can cause substantial pain, as well as tissue damage. In some
extremely rare cases, death can also occur. Although hornets don’t generally
target people, they can attack when threatened.