WHATCOM COUNTY — A rural area east of Blaine near the Canadian border has become the focus of efforts to find and destroy Asian giant hornet nests.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture eradicated a nest in a hallowed-out alder tree there on Sept. 12 and was making plans Sept. 14 to take out another nest in the same area.

The nests are the third and fourth found in North America. The state agriculture department eradicated the other two in the same rural area, one in August and the other last October.

Department spokeswoman Amber Betts said the eradication Sept. 12 including injecting foam into the nest and vacuuming out hornets.

The nest was about 7 feet above the ground. Department staff netted some escaping hornets, she said.

Asian giant hornets have also been seen to the north in British Columbia, but no nests have been found there. The hornets were first detected on both sides of the border in late 2019.

The hornets’ prey includes honey bees. In northwest Washington, the hornets have been particularly attracted to paper wasps, according to entomologists, who hope to exploit that tendency to trap more hornets.

Last year, live hornets were found in other parts of Whatcom County, but this year they have only been sighted east of Blaine. Although no hornet nests have been identified south of Whatcom County so far, much of low-elevation Western Washington is considered to be at risk from them. They are aggressive toward humans, but their main danger is to honeybees, which are vital pollinators.

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