2021 Asian Giant Hornet Update with Sven-Erik Spichiger (S3, E45)


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In this episode, we have a return visit with Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Sven-Erik Spichiger, to see how our honey bees’ newest threat, The Giant Asian Hornet, did last season in the Pacific Northwest.

The AGH was wildly sensationalized last year, picking up the moniker of “Murder Hornet”, which actually helped garner some attention to both this beast and the Department’s quest to locate nests and capture specimens.

Over 900 traps were placed in very northern Washington by department officials, 325 by private land managers and park officials, and private citizen scientists in the state put up over 1200 traps to assist in the venture. The promotional efforts of the Department were very successful and with this many traps, they caught 31 individual specimens, 15 from government traps and 16 from public outreach.

They did learn a lot about the traps and what to use for bait. Those that don’t kill a captured hornet were the best, so the specimen could be radio-tagged and followed, hopefully, back to its nest. This is where the USDA’s APHIS came in handy because they were able to supply additional tags for the program.

They were able to capture, and tag one individual and follow it back to the nest, and eventually they found the nest it came from. Score 1 for the good guys.

What they still don’t know is how far virgin queens go when looking to mate, what else do they eat here (besides honey bees), and are there any natural predators or any diseases here that can be used in the fight. It’s also unknown how hard a Washington winter can be on overwintering queens. As of the date of this episode, it’s early April when we talked, the Department needs an army of volunteers to trap queens to stop them from forming additional nests.

To find out more, or to volunteer, touch base at https://agr.wa.gov/hornets and see if you can help. Tell Sven we sent you. He can use the help.

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Thanks to Strong Microbials for their support of Beekeeping Today Podcast. Find out more about heir line of probiotics in our Season 3, Episode 12 episode and from their website: https://www.strongmicrobials.com

This episode is brought to you by Global Patties! Global Patties is a family business that manufactures protein supplement patties for honey bees. Feeding your hives protein supplement patties will help ensure that they produce strong and health colonies by increasing brood production and overall honey flow. Global offers a variety of standard patties, as well as custom patties to meet your specific needs. Visit them today at http://globalpatties.com and let them know you appreciate them sponsoring this episode!

We want to also thank 2 Million Blossoms as a sponsor of the podcast. 2 Million Blossoms is a quarterly magazine destined for your coffee table. Each page of the magazine is dedicated to the stories and photos of all pollinators and written by leading researchers, photographers and our very own, Kim Flottum.


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Thanks to Bee Culture, the Magazine of American Beekeeping, for their support of The Beekeeping Today Podcast. Available in print and digital at www.beeculture.com

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Podcast music: Young Presidents, "Be Strong", Musicalman, "Epilogue"

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