A RESIDENT in Washington state spotted a "murder hornet" attacking a paper wasp nest earlier this week, reports say.
It's thought to be the first "live" sighting of the year – months after a dead "murder hornet" was discovered in June.
The Asian giant hornet was discovered in Whatcom County on Wednesday.
It was then confirmed by scientists the following day.
The resident, who is unnamed, sent a report which featured a photograph of the hornet attacking a paper wasp nest near Blaine.
State entomologist Sven Spichiger told the Associated Press: “This hornet is exhibiting the same behavior we saw last year – attacking paper wasp nests.”
He told residents in Washington to report any Asian giant hornets they see and keep an eye on the direction they fly into.
The latest “sighting” comes just months after a hornet was discovered north of Seattle.
The killer predator was found on a resident's lawn in Snohomish County in June and experts think the pest appeared to be from a previous season.
Asian giant hornets can use their sharp jaws to tear through human skin.
Scientists have warned for months that the killer species poses a massive public health threat.
Dr. Samuel Ramsey told WUSA: "It is a very large insect. About the size of your thumb.
"It has these very sharp, large mandibles that are attached to these really big muscles that allow it to chew through a lot of different fabrics.
"They can chew through the skin, and they also have a really long stinger."
Hundreds of "murder hornets" have been spotted in Washington state over the past year.
A nest, thought to be the size of a basketball, was found last October and contained almost 500 insects.
Officials quickly sealed off the nest and they think it prevented possibly 200 new nests from developing.
Last year, the NYPD bee unit prepared for “murder hornets” to invade the East Coast.
The insects prey on bees and pose a threat to an already endangered population.
A small group of hornets can destroy a honeybee hive in just hours.
Their poisonous venom can destroy human cells and send signals of constant pain to nerves.
The deadly insects have been known to kill up to 50 people a year in their native country Japan.
They are over two inches long and can fly at speeds of 20mph.
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