Washington State Department of Agriculture | KNKX

Washington State Department of Agriculture

Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologist Chris Looney displays a dead Asian giant hornet, bottom, next to a native bald-faced hornet. The Asian hornets are deadly to honeybees, but bug experts say they’re not a big threat to people.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press file

Officials in Canada and the United States are coordinating efforts to detect and eradicate the Asian giant hornet. 

Courtesy Karla Salp, Wash. State Dept of Agriculture

Gypsy moths are back in Washington State – with a vengeance. Officials at the Washington State Department of Agriculture say they’re evaluating options after the agency’s annual trapping program caught 117 of the invasive species this summer – the highest number in more than 20 years.

It’s normal for Agriculture technicians to find one or two gypsy moths in those triangular cardboard traps you sometimes see on trees.

Rick Bowmer / AP

The state Department of Agriculture says last year’s drought will cost farmers and ranchers dearly. The initial assessment of losses to the industry due to water shortages for 2015 is $336 million.

The agency has issued a report that will be updated exactly one year from its initial release date, which was on the last day of 2015. 

istockphoto.com

State officials are urging owners of backyard chicken to sign up their flock for bird flu testing.

The state is trying to prevent an outbreak of a new strain of bird flu like the one recently seen in China. At least 36 people have died of the disease since March.

Photo courtesy Mike Louisell / WSDA

The gypsy moth is considered to be the most destructive forest pest in the country. When they're caterpillars, they have a voracious appetite for almost any kind of tree or bush, and they can strip a tree bare overnight.

Gypsy moth caterpillars are capable of defoliating hundreds of thousands of acres of forest per year. This month, the Washington State Department of Agriculture is installing thousands of gypsy moth traps around the state.