First Asian giant hornet nest found in Washington

The Washington State Department of Agriculture has found the first Asian giant hornet nest in the United States. 

Officials will hold a news briefing at 2 p.m. Friday to discuss their finding. 

The nest was found in a tree off Burk Road in east Blaine in Whatcom County around 4 p.m. Thursday, according to The Northern Light newspaper. They were able to trap two live hornets and use long-range radio tags to track one of them to the nest. 

Scientists tracking the hornets believe there's another nest in the area. 

A total of 18 hornets had been found in the state as of mid-October. 

Officials earlier in the month reported trying to glue a radio tag to another live hornet so they could follow it back to its nest, but the glue did not dry fast enough. The radio tag fell off and the hornet ultimately could not fly.

RELATED: WSU researchers say invasive Asian giant hornets could spread along the West Coast

The Asian giant hornet — the world’s largest at 2 inches (5 centimeters) — can decimate entire hives of honeybees and deliver painful stings to humans. Farmers in the northwestern U.S. depend on those honey bees to pollinate many crops, including raspberries and blueberries.

Despite their nickname, the hornets kill at most a few dozen people a year in Asia, and experts say it is probably far less. Hornets, wasps and bees typically found in the United States kill an average of 62 people a year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said.

The real threat from the ”murder” hornets is their devastating attacks on honeybee hives, and the time of year when they attack those hives is nearing, Spichiger said. He called it the “slaughter phase.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.