Nest of 'murder hornets' in Washington s
Washington state entomologists discovered the first Asian giant hornet nest in
Washington state entomologists discovered the first Asian giant hornet nest in the United States this week, officials said.
The "murder hornets" were first spotted in the state late last year, and entomologists have since been on alert for the massive insects, which can devastate honey bee populations.MORE: 'Murder Hornets,' with sting that can kill, land in US
After weeks of trapping and searching, Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologists located what they said is the first nest of its kind in the U.S., in Blaine, north of Seattle near the Canadian border.Washington State Department of AgricultureEntomologists discovered the first Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S. on a property in Blaine,Wash., Oct. 22, 2020.Entomologists discovered the first Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S. on a property in Blaine,Wash., Oct. 22, 2020.
The nest was found after four live hornets were caught this week in traps the agriculture department set up in the area. Entomologists were able to attach radio trackers to three of the hornets, and one of them led them to the nest -- located in the cavity of a tree on private property -- Wednesday afternoon, officials said. The team observed dozens of hornets entering and leaving the tree.
The property owner gave the agency permission to eradicate the nest and, if necessary, remove the tree, officials said. The agency was unable to eliminate the nest Friday due to bad weather and plans to try again Saturday, officials said.MORE: How concerned should the US be about ‘murder hornets’?
The first confirmed detection of an Asian giant hornet in the U.S. was in Whatcom County, Washington, in December, with two verified reports of the insect near Blaine. Two were also discovered in British Columbia, Canada, last fall.
Since then, 20 hornets have been caught in Whatcom County, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture.Washington State Department of AgricultureA radio tracking device is attached to a hornet. Entomologists discovered the first Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S. on a property in Washington on Oct. 22.A radio tracking device is attached to a hornet. Entomologists discovered the first Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S. on a property in Washington on Oct. 22.
Hundreds of traps have been set throughout Washington by state agriculture department staff, scientists and others, in an attempt to eliminate the pest. The world's largest hornet, at 2 inches, the apex predator can kill an entire honey bee hive in just hours. With bee populations already in decline in the U.S., in what's known as "colony collapse disorder," the hornets pose another threat to the ecosystem if they become established.
For humans, the hornet's sting is more painful than your typical bee or wasp, and people are advised to use caution near the insects and not attempt to remove or eradicate their nests themselves.
Native to Asian countries including China and Japan, it's not known how the hornets arrived in the Pacific Northwest, though through international cargo is one theory.
Source : abcnews.go.com