First murder hornet nest found in US destroyed via vacuum; more nests may exist

Homicide hornets are right here, however not for lengthy.

Washington State Division of Agriculture

The Washington State Division of Agriculture destroyed the first-ever nest of murder hornets discovered within the US on Saturday.

The nest of Asian big hornets — nicknamed homicide hornets for his or her apply of killing massive numbers of bees — was the size of a basketball and contained almost 100 hornetsWearing thick protective suits, the WSDA nest elimination crew vacuumed the hornets from the tree into large canisters

Extra particularly, 85 hornets have been vacuumed out of the nest, and one other 13 dwell hornets have been collected for analysis with a web, the WSDA said on Monday. The tree the place the nest was discovered will probably be cut down to destroy any new child hornets and to see if any of the hornet queens have left the hive. 

“The eradication went very easily, despite the fact that our authentic plan needed to be tailored because of the truth that the nest was in a tree, fairly than the bottom,” managing entomologist Sven Spichiger said on Monday. “Whereas that is actually a morale increase, that is solely the beginning of our work to hopefully forestall the Asian big hornet from gaining a foothold within the Pacific Northwest. We suspect there could also be extra nests in Whatcom County.”

Entomologists initially noticed the nest in a tree cavity close to Blaine, Washington, after they trapped, tagged and tracked a dwell Asian giant hornet again to its nest. 

The profitable detection of a nest got here after a WSDA trapper on Wednesday collected two dwell homicide hornets caught in a brand new sort of lure the company positioned within the space. Two extra dwell hornets have been present in one other lure on Thursday, the identical day WSDA employees tagged the previously trapped hornets with radio trackers and have been capable of observe one again to its nest.

Entomologists discovered the murder hornets’ nest contained in the cavity of a tree situated on non-public property. Whereas homicide hornets usually nest within the floor, they will typically be discovered nesting in useless bushes. Dozens of the homicide hornets have been noticed across the tree.

The WSDA has been actively searching for murder hornet nests for the reason that bugs first confirmed up. The primary confirmed detection of an Asian big hornet in Washington occurred in December 2019, and the primary hornet trapped in July of this yr. 

Asian big hornets are a harmful invasive pest not native to the US, however they’re the world’s largest hornet in addition to a predator of honey bees and different bugs. 

A small group of homicide hornets can kill an entire honey bee hive in a matter of hours.

Entomologists and citizen scientists have been diligently monitoring sightings of the hornet in an ongoing effort to search out nests to get rid of them. The WSDA asks that folks proceed to report any more sightings of Asian Large Hornets to them instantly.

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Bonnie Burton