Media The Verge reported in May that the “killer bumblebee” had invaded Washington state and other areas. The Asian-based bumblebee is described as about 2 inches long and can fly at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. And their stings are long enough to pierce the beekeeper’s protective clothing. Now staff at the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) say they have captured a “killing bumblebee” for the first time in the state.
The bumblebee was found in a trap near Birch Bay in Whatcom County on July 14 and was actively identified on July 29. The “killing bumblebee” is considered an invasive pest, and scientists really want to stop bumblebees from building a sense of presence in the United States because they pose a threat to vulnerable bee populations.
Sven Spicer, a management entomologist at WSDA, says they’re still trying to determine whether they caught a worker bee or a bee because it’s a bit of a bit of a difference. He tends to be a work bee.
Spicer said they are also optimistic that they will be able to catch some bumblebees alive and may label them for tracking. “When you put on a bumblebee suit that’s almost an inch thick, it’s a bit of a grassy, and it’s July, and of course you’re a little nervous,” he said in a news conference.
Because the number of “kill bumblebees” increases with the growth of the bee population, the WSDA issued the following statement:
WSDA’s next step is to use infrared cameras to find nests and place more traps to capture live samples of Asian bumblebees. WSDA pest project staff will deploy special traps designed to catch bumblebees, but keep them alive. If they catch live bumblebees, the department will try to mark and track them back to their colonies. Once found, the agency will eradicate the colony.
WSDA says it has hundreds of traps to try to catch more bumblebees, and the public has thousands of homemade traps, which Spicer says helps. “We hope this is the only bumblebee we’ve found this year, but we have a lot of traps, which should help us make sure that we cover the area and take care of any issues.” WSDA says people can build and set their own traps for bumblebees and report sightings on its website.