News ID: 275869
Published: 0512 GMT October 25, 2020

'Murder hornet' nest vacuumed out of tree in Washington

'Murder hornet' nest vacuumed out of tree in Washington
WSDA/REUTERS
A Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) entomologist completes an operation to remove a colony of Asian giant hornets by vacuum from a tree after they were discovered near Blaine, Washington, US, on October 24, 2020.

A team of entomologists in full-body protective gear vacuumed Asian giant hornets out of a tree in Washington State, eradicating the first nest of the so-called murder hornets found in the United States.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) 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, Reuters reported

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.

They returned later 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 (6.4cm) 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.

   
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