SEATTLE (AP) – Officials are warning about the Asian giant hornet, a new invasive species found in Washington state that can pack a powerful sting and be a threat to honeybees.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture said the bug was found in Blaine near the Canadian border in December.
The state’s health officials are now warning people in the area to be on the lookout and avoid the hornets, which are typically an inch and half long with large light-orange, yellow heads.
The species isn’t usually interested in humans or animals but may sting if they or their nests are disturbed or threatened. According to the WSDA, the hornets nest on the ground and are typically dormant through winter. They are most commonly spotted between the months of July through October.
Should you encounter an Asian hornet, avoid swatting at it if possible because that may cause the insect to sting. If stung, the DOH advises thoroughly washing the sting site with soap and water and then apply ice to reduce swelling. Anti-inch cream is also recommended, however if you experience a more severe reaction to the sting, seek medical help immediately.
The Department of Health advises residents to take preventative measures, such as keeping outdoor food and drinks covered or under screens, and properly disposing of food waste in a covered trash can.
If you think you have spotted an Asian hornet, the WSDA asks that you report it to their pest program, and include a photo if possible: email@example.com
This story was written with contributions from The Associated Press.