2020 was full of strange happenings and scary headlines, with one of them being the arrival of a new killer bug.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) held a training session in Blaine, WA, for its employees to be prepared for tracking pests, such as the Northern Giant Hornets, previously known as Murder Hornets or Asian Giant Hornet.

Sven Spichiger is the acting Pest Program Manager and State Plant Regulatory Official with the WSDA was one of the leaders of the training gathering all the eradication and trapping equipment. This includes radio tags they would tie to the pests and track them back to the nests along with bait and other gadgets used in the eradication process. This training they were even able to use a drone for the first time to help track a tag from the air.

"In 2022, we went through an entire season with no detections and no reports confirmed of the hornets. What that means is, if we get through that this year and next year we get to say we eradicated the Northern Giant Hornets in the state," Spichiger said.

The issue with these hornets is they are not native to our area. Spichiger said that most hornets originate from Asia and these giant killers happen to feast on honey bees and other beneficial pollinator insects.

Other pests WSDA is trying to eradicate is Spongy Moth and Japanese Beetle. More guidance is coming to help the efforts of eradicating these two species. The Spongy Moth, formerly known as the Gypsy Moth, has a voracious appetite for tree and shrubs that threatens U.S. forests. The Japanese Beetle feasts on grass roots threatening lawns and pasture ground.

Sources: Washington State Department of Agriculture, USDA APHIS, PNW Ag Network

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