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Asian giant hornets in Spokane? Not impossible but unlikely, officials say

Officials have received hundreds of reports from Washington and throughout the U.S. to date, but none of them have been Asian giant hornets.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Asian giant hornets: the insects have been invading news headlines but it's unlikely they have invaded your backyard.

The first Asian giant hornet was documented in western Washington in 2019. Washington State University scientists have since been working to track them.

The massive insects can be 1.5 to 2 inches long, with a stringer longer than a common hornet. They do not generally attack humans and animals, but can be dangerous and even fatal if threatened.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has photos on its website comparing the size of the Asian giant hornet to other insects. 

Officials say they can sting repeatedly and have a more toxic venom than hornets. They’re also devastating to honeybees, as they attack and destroy hives in just a matter of hours.

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KREM reached out to WSDA after a viewer told us they may have seen the Asian giant hornet in Spokane. The good news: officials say it's not impossible, but unlikely, that they have been spotted locally.

"We’ve received hundreds of reports – many even with photos – from all over Washington and the US and none of them have been Asian giant hornets," said WSDA spokesperson Karla Salp in an email. "It is definitely on our radar, but given the public awareness at this point and the number of reports we have received, we would expect at least to have a confirmed report of some kind if they were more widespread."

Officials with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture similarly said on Thursday that they do not have confirmed reports of Asian giant hornets in the state. 

"We are monitoring the situation with Asian giant hornets closely," ISDA leaders wrote in a statement. "When non-native species are found, ISDA works with property owners and communities on control measures if any are appropriate and available.

RELATED: Invasive honeybee-killing hornet threatens Washington hives

How to report sightings

If you do happen to stumble upon what you believe might be an Asian giant hornet, contact the WSDA Pest Program at 1-800-443-6684, pestprogram@agr.wa.gov or online at agr.wa.gov/hornets.  

If you believe you have found an Asian giant hornet in Idaho, email info@isda.idaho.gov with information and photographs if you can do so safely. You may be contacted by ISDA to discuss confirmation by scientific experts.

In the event of an encounter, be sure to keep your distance. Those who are stung should seek medical attention as a precaution.

RELATED: 'It's a shockingly large hornet': WSU seeks public help tracking invasive Asian Giant Hornet