Hornets are here! Washington State Department of Agriculture confirmed the first official sighting of the Asian giant hornet in Custer, Washington, a town eight miles south of the Canadian border. On Wednesday, a woman from Whatcom County found the specimen dead along a roadway in Custer and reported it through the Hornet Watch report form.

By Thursday, entomologists confirmed that the Custer woman was indeed right and the specimen was collected and submitted for testing. The results came back this morning and it was confirmed to be the dreaded "murder hornet."

This news breaks following a story from a neighboring Canadian town in Langley B.C., where a woman found a hornet buzzing around her garden. 

She crushed the hornet, sent in photos to the government and on Wednesday, May 27, provincial wasp expert Paul Van Westendorp confirmed to CTV News that it was the Asian giant hornet.

B.C. and Washington's Whatcom County seem to be hot spots for these hornets, as the Custer location was home to a "bee kill," the term for an incident of many bee deaths, that happened back in 2019.

Agriculture officials have a plan set in motion for setting up traps in the area as these hornets can go into a "slaughter mode" and destroy an entire beehive in a matter of hours. 

But don't get too worried yet! According to a report from KOMO News, the Asian giant hornet isn't "typically aggressive toward humans," though if provoked, "they pose a human health threat."

They have a dangerous sting and can attack multiple times without dying, unlike the typical honeybee who dies after one sting. Their venom can cause "severe pain, necrosis and in rare cases, even death."

So if you think you spot one, it might just be best to leave it alone and contact your local government.

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