Washington officials find first-ever ‘murder hornet’ nest in US

Washington

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Officials in Washington have announced they’ve found an Asian giant hornet nest on a property in Blaine, the first of its kind in the U.S.

The Asian giant hornet, also known as the “murder hornet,” made headlines this year after its presence was announced in late December 2019. The insect is the world’s largest hornet and preys on other insects, including honey bees, of which an entire hive can be wiped out in a matter of hours by a small group of Asian giant hornets, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Entomologists with Washington’s agricultural department said they were able to find the nest, which was inside the cavity of a dead tree on a property in Blaine on Thursday, after attaching radio trackers to three out of four hornets that had been caught in a new kind of trap being used by the agency on Wednesday and Thursday.

One of the hornets being tracked ultimately led the entomologists to the nest inside the tree, which had “dozens of hornets” leaving and coming back to the nest, according to the agency.

Officials plan to eradicate the nest on Saturday, for which the property owner has given permission to remove the nest and even the tree if necessary.

Asian giant hornet traps have been set by agricultural teams and citizen scientists throughout the state, and officials are monitoring the network’s sightings in an ongoing effort to eradicate the nests and the invasive species.

A press conference is slated for Friday afternoon about how entomologists found the nest.

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