CUSTER, Wash. -- Beekeepers in Washington state say honeybees are at risk and crops could be affected as well if they can’t find and eradicate the Asian Giant Hornet, an invasive species showing up in Whatcom County.
The hornets have become infamous and made national headlines with the nickname “murder hornets.” They can be the size of a small bird, two inches in length, and a long stinger with venom the can be dangerous to people.
But it’s the honeybees that are a direct threat from the massive hornets.
Ted McCall is a beekeeper who lives just two miles from where the state found the first giant hornets in Blaine.
McCall believes the Asian Giant Hornet wiped out one of his hives, literally decapitating every honeybee.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture is using pics of McCall’s decimated hive to show the damage the giant hornet can do.
“Like it or not, everyone who has hives up here is basically having bait for the giant hornet,” said McCall. “We’re the actual boots on the ground that are dealing with it, and luckily, the state is being very active and trying to help us out.”
Beekeepers around Whatcom County are currently setting traps for the hornet and trying to find their colony to eradicate them. They expect to start seeing more of them as the temperatures start to rise through spring and into summer.
McCall said the biggest concern is what could happen to the fruit and vegetable crops that honeybees pollinate if hornets begin to thrive in our state.
“If honeybees have a problem, then our food supply has a problem," he said. "Demand for honeybees is going up, and farmers and people who own crops are willing to pay a lot of money to have honeybees on land for pollination. Without honeybees, the fruit, vegetable, and nut yields will be effected.”