HOT OFF THE PRESS!
Please view our new publication on Asian Giant Hornets.
What are Asian Giant Hornets (AGH)?
Asian Giant Hornets (Vespa mandarinia) are native to Asia. They are the world’s largest hornets, measuring about 2 inches long with a wing span of 3 inches and distinct large orange-colored heads. They mostly nest underground and sometimes in dead logs. They generally prey on different types of insects (beetles, praying mantis, etc.), but may seek honey bee hives during summer and fall when their protein needs are high to feed their young. Their coordinated attack as a group could be devastating to honey bee colonies, as just a few hornets can decimate an entire honey bee colony in few hours. They are generally not aggressive towards people, but can sting if threatened or if their nest is disturbed. Do not pursue Asian Giant Hornets.
Should we be concerned about AGH?
We should not panic about AGH at this time, but we should be vigilant as they have not been reported to have established in the PNW or USA. There are no confirmed reports of AGH in Oregon. A couple of hornets were found in two different locations in northwest Washington close to the Canadian border during 2019, but there have been no further reports of AGH sightings in 2020 (as of May 15). As AGH is a potential threat to honey bee colonies, we need to make sure that they are not established in our region/country by active surveillance and eradication measures.
What to do if you think you have indeed seen an AGH or suspect AGH attack on your colony?
Since the recent media reports, concerned beekeepers, master gardeners and citizens have been contacting ODA, OSU, OSBA and other relevant groups for updates and to report potential AGH suspects. Please keep in mind that there are several confusing look-alikes of AGH in the PNW, such as sawflies, cicada killers and other wasps, and it is easy to panic if you see one of those large hornet look-alikes. If you are confident that you have seen an AGH or you suspect an AGH attack on a bee hive, then please report the sightings / incident to ODA at https://oda.fyi/HornetReport or call 503-986-4636. If possible, please take a picture of the suspect from a safe distance and upload to the ODA reporting site listed above. You can also report the sightings to us at OSU (Honey Bee Lab or Pollinator Health Extension).
Below are links to some good information on Asian Giant Hornet biology, identification and monitoring.