But WSDA team remains upbeat about being able to contain any spread
WHATCOM — No more giant Asian hornet nests have been identified beyond the one eradicated between Blaine and Lynden on Oct. 24.
In all, about 500 hornets and up to 200 queens may have been associated with that captured nest, said managing entomologist Sven Spichiger with the Washington State Department of Agriculture in a virtual press conference call Tuesday afternoon.
Spichiger said he remains hopeful that there could be discovery of more nests yet this year, with the help of citizen trappers in addition to WDA scientists.
“Yes, we do believe there are other nests,” he reiterated in response to the questions of reporters.
Spichiger said he believes that nests are not beyond the Blaine, Birch Bay and Custer areas, based on patterns seen so far, as well as just across the U.S.-Canada border.
Paul van Westendorp, a representative of the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, came on the phone call to report that a nest and some queens have been detected in British Columbia within 10 miles of the international border.
Spichiger said he is “certainly optimistic” of being able to contain the giant Asian hornet threat before it spreads out of control beyond Whatcom County.
The section of tree that contained the nest — from a residential area off Burk Road — as well as the hornet specimens are now at Washington State University, Spichiger said.
He said he cannot be entirely sure no queens had already left the eradicated nest. But about 200 are accounted for.
The department’s traps will now gradually be taken down in coming weeks to the end of the year.
It is believed that a giant Asian hornet queen came to the West Coast in some sort of international trade shipment, Spichiger said.