A Nest Of Nearly 1,500 Asian Giant ‘Murder Hornets’ Has Been Eradicated

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Sven Spichiger, Washington state Department of Agriculture managing entomologist, displays a canister of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a nest in a tree behind him in Blaine, Wash., last year. State officials said this week they had destroyed the first Asian giant hornet nest of the season, which was located near the town of Blaine.

Elaine Thompson/AP

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Elaine Thompson/AP

1st Live Asian Giant ‘Murder Hornet’ Of 2021 Spotted In Washington State

The hornet is an invasive species to North America

Asian giant hornets are the world’s largest hornet and are not native to North America. They prey on honey bees and other insects. They can conduct mass attacks on honey bee hives, destroying the hive in a matter of hours. The hornets were first detected in the United States in 2019 when a hornet was reported in Whatcom County.

The 2-inch-long (5-centimeter-long) invasive insects pose a threat to honeybees and native hornet species. While not particularly aggressive toward humans, their sting is extremely painful and repeated stings, though rare, can kill.

State workers in protective clothing began the eradication Wednesday by vacuuming 113 worker hornets from the nest. Then the team began removing bark and decayed wood near the base of the alder tree. Removing the wood revealed that the hornets had excavated the interior of the tree to make room for the nest, which consisted of nine layers of comb.

The portion of the tree with the nest was cut and transported to Washington State University Extension in Bellingham for further analysis. The nest itself had nearly 1,500 hornets in various stages of development.

«While we are glad to have found and eradicated this nest so early in the season, this detection proves how important public reporting continues to be,» said Sven Spichiger, WSDA managing entomologist. «We expect there are more nests out there and, like this one, we hope to find them before they can produce new queens.»


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