The first "murder hornet" of the year has been discovered near Seattle.
A resident near Marysville in Snohomish County found the dead Asian hornet known for its vicious and fast "slaughter" of honeybee hives. The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed the discovery of a "dried out" deceased male on Wednesday.
The specimen was submitted to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, where entomologists confirmed that it was a Vespa mandarinia. Last year scientists in the U.S. and Canada launched efforts to stop the spread of the species, which "is an absolutely serious danger to our health and well-being," said Paul van Westendorp of the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, according to CBS News.
Scientists found roughly 500 live specimens, including nearly 200 queens, when destroying the first nest of murder hornets found in the U.S. last year.
"This is not a species we want to tolerate here in the United States," said Sven-Erik Spichiger of the Washington state Department of Agriculture, which eradicated a nest of the Asian giant hornets. "The Asian giant hornet is not supposed to be here. We may not get them all, but we will get as many as we can," he added of eradication efforts.
Usually, new males do not typically emerge until at least July, and the latest discovery has scientists baffled. Due to the hornet's unusual location and coloring, they believe it may be from a past season.
"The find is perplexing because it is too early for a male to emerge," said Dr. Osama El-Lissy, Deputy Administrator for the USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine program. "Last year, the first males emerged in late July, which was earlier than expected. However, we will work with WSDA to survey the area to verify whether a population exists in Snohomish County."
Resident sightings are a massive benefit to researchers as all of the confirmed sightings in Canada, and half of them in Washington, last year came from the public.
"This new report continues to underscore how important public reporting is for all suspected invasive species, but especially Asian giant hornet," said Sven Spichiger, WSDA managing entomologist. "We'll now be setting traps in the area and encouraging citizen scientists to trap in Snohomish and King counties. None of this would have happened without an alert resident taking the time to snap a photo and submit a report."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.