BOISE — So far, so good, Idaho. No Asian giant hornets — nicknamed “murder hornets” by a terrified internet — have been spotted in Idaho yet, according to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.
The invasive species appeared in the United States for the first time in northwest Washington at the end of 2019, according to a New York Times report. The bees can attack and kill a honey bee colony within hours and will also sting humans.
The hornets have only been identified twice in the United States, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture reiterated in a Thursday press release. Both were in northwest Washington, near the Canadian border.
State agriculture officials investigate calls about possible non-native bees and hornets every year, including some that look similar to the Asian giant hornet. Some native species are surprisingly large with color patters like the Asian giant hornet, the agriculture department said. One local species reported multiple times every summer is the Western Cicada Killer (Sphecius grandis).
“The ISDA routinely surveys for many invasive pests around the state annually and evaluates potential sightings by the public on other species of local and national concern,” wrote department spokeswoman Chanel Tewalt. “We are monitoring the situation with Asian giant hornets closely.”
Tewalt told the Statesman that most of the calls the department have received so far have come from members of the media.
The agriculture department is developing a public fact sheet with more information about Asian giant hornets, including known distribution and identifying characteristics, that will be available soon, the release said.
People should exercise extreme caution near Asian giant hornets. Anyone allergic to bee or wasp stings should never approach an Asian giant hornet.
If you believe you have found an Asian giant hornet, email email@example.com with information and photographs (if you can do so safely). You may be contacted by agriculture department to discuss confirmation by scientific experts.
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