WSDA talks about how it traps and tracks northern giant hornets
Dr Chris Looney shared during the Washington State Department of Agriculture webinar how researchers are collecting data to help track and trap northern giant wasps.
SEATTLE – Dr. Chris Looney from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Pest Program led a northern giant wasp webinar on Wednesday to discuss tracking and trapping methods .
The WSDA has been working to try and remove invasive species from Washington state since 2019.
The northern giant wasp was first seen in the US in the fall of 2019 after a nest was confirmed in Canada.
There were five more sightings of the northern giant wasp that year. The Washington State Department of Agriculture began setting traps to catch insects. Most traps are concentrated in the northwest part of Whatcom county near the Canadian border, with additional traps in the Bellingham area.
In 2022, the WSDA reported no nests and no bumblebees in Washington state.
There is still no information on how this species reached North America.
Dr. Looney and his team at the Plant Protection Department of the WSDA Pest Program study the northern giant wasp (scientific name V. mandarinia). He wants to learn about their origin, eating habits, flight habits and nesting methods.
The ultimate goal for Dr. Looney and his team is to fully understand the northern giant wasps so that they can be quickly and completely eliminated from an area.
Much research has been done to learn more about the northern giant wasp.
Experts already know that wasps from Asia feed on a variety of social membrane insects, such as honey bees and mantises.
By supercoding fecal pellets, a molecular process using PCR and DNA sequencing, from northern giant wasp larvae, Dr Looney was able to determine that the northern giant wasp was Northerners have a diet similar to that of their Asian relatives.
Using information from their DNA sequencing results, Dr Looney and his colleagues sought to develop better lures for northern giant wasp traps. None of the traps proved particularly adapted for catching wasps.
However, it was reported that a trap made with pheromones from the venom secreted by the queen bee caught 282 male wasps and 40 worker bees. A pheromone is a hormone-releasing substance that wasps use as a sort of alarm to warn other wasps that something is happening – usually the nest is under attack.
Dr. Looney and his team conducted several follow-up studies at a remote site in Korea. Using a system of antennas and sensors, the team was able to receive data on wasps’ flight habits and habitats.
Working with the three nests the team had brought, Dr Looney was able to tag 53 wasps, 7 males and 10 queens. A wasp is tagged by trapping it, keeping it in the fridge until it falls asleep, then quickly tying the tag around its midsection before it wakes up.
The tags are broadcast from anywhere from two days to a week and will send data every 5 to 10 seconds, generating approximately 9 million tag points over the study period.
Card points have been added to the nest entry point. This allowed Dr. Looney to study how often wasps leave the nest and how long they leave when they leave.
The last research he worked on was a tethered aircraft plant that measured physiological flight capabilities, including wasps’ flight speed, distance traveled, and flight time.
Dr. Looney and his team plan to return to Korea in July to continue their research.
The WSDA asks the public to report any northern giant wasp sightings that may be made online. You can also set traps for invasive wasps, whose season runs from July to November, although queens can be seen earlier in the spring.
https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/public-safety/wsda-pest-program-talks-northern-giant-hornets-traps-tracking/281-81fd738b-5736-403a-a9ff-85b4ebe2a7e9 WSDA talks about how it traps and tracks northern giant hornets