A team of entomologists in full-body protective gear vacuumed Asian giant hornets out of a tree in Washington state on Saturday, eradicating the first nest of the so-called murder hornets found in the United States.
The state’s agricultural department said it had spent weeks searching for and trapping the hornets, which attack honeybee hives and could pose a threat to humans because they can sting repeatedly with venom that is stronger than a honeybee’s.
The state’s entomologists succeeded by attaching radio trackers to three hornets they had trapped earlier in the week, one of which they followed to the nest, located in a tree near Blaine, Washington, on Thursday.
They returned on Saturday to make the extraction.
“Got ‘em. Vacuumed out several #AsianGiantHornets from a tree cavity near Blaine this morning,” the agriculture department said on Twitter, adding that more details would be provided at a news conference on Monday.
The stinging hornet, the world’s largest, can grow as large as 2-1/2 inches (6.4 cm) in length and is native to Southeast Asia, China and Taiwan. It was first discovered in the United States in December by a homeowner in Blaine.
Aside from the danger to humans, the hornet presents a threat to agriculture and the apiary industry, officials have said, because it is a known predator of honey bees, with a few of the hornets capable of wiping out an entire hive in hours.
In true 2020 fashion, our last video accidentally had several minutes of black screen at the end. Here's what we meant to post of the #AsianGiantHornet nest found in a tree cavity in Whatcom County. pic.twitter.com/f1vO8qxmly— WA St Dept of Agr (@WSDAgov) October 23, 2020
Got ‘em. Vacuumed out several #AsianGiantHornets from a tree cavity near Blaine this morning. Further details will be provided at a press conference on Monday. Staff not available for interviews before then. pic.twitter.com/31kgAUuJd0— WA St Dept of Agr (@WSDAgov) October 24, 2020