The USDA confirmed identification of Asian giant hornet

(Figure 1)

from a farm in Blaine, Washington. This is the first and only confirmed identification in the United States. Blaine, Washington is located in the northwestern corner of Washington on the Canadian border. The wasp was also reported from nearby Vancouver Island in British Columbia (BC).

Recently, several national media outlets reported on the hornet and this has spurred considerable concern. To reiterate, there have been no confirmed findings of this pest outside of the state of Washington.

There are other insect species that can resemble the Asian giant hornet, including the European hornet, bald faced hornet, and cicada killers

(Figure 2).

The Asian giant hornet is the world's largest vespid wasp, its workers are about 1 1/2 inches in length and queens are as long as 2 inches. European hornets and cicada killers can be of similar lengths but there are important ways to tell them apart, as outlined in the image below.

Why is this a pest of concern?

Asian giant hornet is infamous for conducting group raids on colonies of European honey bees, which can result in the complete destruction of said honey bee colonies. Asian giant hornet workers attack the colonies in mass and decapitate the honey bees, which they dismember and feed to their larvae. This can mean losses for beekeepers in infested areas.

These insects also pose a possible medical hazard. They will defend themselves and their nest and they have a longer stinger than honey bees. The venom of an Asian giant hornet is also potentially more hazardous than other stinging insects.

For more information, contact the Pulaski County Extension Service at 606-679-6361 and request Ent-Fact 620 Controlling Wasps, Hornets, and Yellowjackets, Ent-Fact600 European Hornet in Kentucky, and Ent-Fact 411 Yard Wasps.

The Pulaski Co Extension office is temporarily limiting public access until further notice. Extension employees are still on the job and can be reached via office phone. Read the entire directive on the Pulaski County Cooperative Extension website at

The Lake Cumberland Master Gardeners have pine straw mulch for sale at the Pulaski County Extension office. It is sold in bales for $7 per bale (over 50, $6 per bale). It can be picked up on Tuesdays only.

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