All species of hornets, including “murder hornets,” would be added to the list of quarantined pests under new rules being considered by the Washington state Department of Agriculture.
A hearing will be held on the proposed rules on May 11.
Restrictions would be considered on “infected sites,” all property within 20 meters of a hornet nest with any live stage of hornets. Once a location was designated as an infected site, no one could enter without authorization until WSDA deemed it clear of infestation. The department says this would limit the risk to public health and safety, as well as prevent further infestation.
The department would attempt to notify occupants and/or owners of those properties when designated as an infested site. The rule clarifies that state inspectors may enter infested sites to remove and treat the nest and hornets.
The proposed rules would prohibit live life stages of hornet species from being sold, offered for sale, distributed, or knowingly moved throughout or received within Washington.
The Asian giant hornets, the so-called “murder hornets,” are an invasive pest that threatens pollinators. They were found in Whatcom County in 2019 and 2020 and have become the focus of an international effort to eradicate it in the Pacific Northwest. Washington state, British Columbia and U.S. federal agencies are collaborating on plans to track, trap and eradicate any giant hornets they find, according to the WSDA.
Information for joining the online hearing at 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 11, can be found here at the WSDA site.