Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
First 'Murder Hornet' Nest Found in US. It's Almost the Size of a Basketball.
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 3 years ago on
October 24, 2020

Share

SPOKANE — Scientists in Washington state have discovered the first nest of so-called murder hornets in the United States and plan to wipe it out Saturday to protect native honeybees, officials said.

Workers with the state Agriculture Department spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we did it,” agency spokeswoman Karla Salp said at a virtual briefing. Bad weather delayed plans Friday to destroy the nest found in Blaine, a city north of Seattle.

Nest the Size of a Basketball

The nest is about the size of a basketball and contains an estimated 100 to 200 hornets, according to scientists, who suspected it was in the area ever since the invasive insects began appearing late last year. Officials have said it’s not known how they arrived in North America.

Despite their nickname and the hype that has stirred fears in an already bleak year, the world’s largest hornets kill at most a few dozen people a year in Asian countries, and experts say it is probably far less. Meanwhile, hornets, wasps and bees typically found in the United States kill an average of 62 people a year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said.

The real threat from Asian giant hornets — which are 2 inches long — is their devastating attacks on honeybees, which are already under siege from problems like mites, diseases, pesticides and loss of food. A small group of the hornets can kill an entire honeybee hive in hours, and they have already destroyed six or seven hives in Washington state, officials said.

Radio Trackers Led to Nest

The nest was found after an Agriculture Department worker trapped two of the hornets Wednesday. Two more were captured Thursday, the agency said.

Using dental floss, “entomologists were able to attach radio trackers to three hornets, the second of which led them to the discovery of the nest” Thursday, agriculture officials said.

It was about 300 yards from the traps in the cavity of a tree on private property, officials said. Dozens of the hornets were seen buzzing in and out of the tree about 7 or 8 feet above the ground. The owner is letting the state eradicate the nest and remove the tree.

The plan Saturday is to fill the cavity with foam and cover it with plastic wrap to prevent the hornets from escaping, said Sven-Erik Spichiger, an entomologist for the Agriculture Department. Then a tube will be inserted to vacuum up the hornets trapped inside and deposit them in a collection chamber, he said.

‘We Are Actively Hunting Them’

Workers will wear thick protective suits that can prevent the 6-millimeter-long stingers of the hornets from hurting workers, Spichiger said. They also will wear face shields because the trapped hornets can spit a painful venom into their eyes.

“We extract them alive,” he said. “We will kill them.”

The tree will then be cut down to extract newborn hornets and learn if any queens have left the hive already, he said. Officials suspect more nests may be in the area and will keep searching.

“It’s still a very small population, and we are actively hunting them,” Spichiger said.

Scientists for the department have been searching for nests since the first Asian giant hornets were caught earlier this year. The first confirmed detection of the hornet in the U.S. was in December 2019 near Blaine and the first live hornet was trapped this July. Just over 20 have been caught so far, all in Whatcom County.

The invasive insect is normally found in China, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam and other Asian countries. Washington state and the Canadian province of British Columbia are the only places the hornets have been found on the continent.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

DON'T MISS

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

DON'T MISS

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

DON'T MISS

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

DON'T MISS

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

DON'T MISS

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

DON'T MISS

Melvin and Matzah: Giants Manager Recalls Childhood Passover

DON'T MISS

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

DON'T MISS

Newsom Wants to Make It Easier for Arizona Women to Get a California Abortion

DON'T MISS

By Remembering the Genocide, We Can Help Rebuild Armenia

UP NEXT

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

UP NEXT

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

UP NEXT

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

UP NEXT

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

UP NEXT

Full Jury and 6 Alternates Seated in Trump’s Hush Money Trial

UP NEXT

Barbara Corcoran: 1% Interest Rate Drop Will Send Housing Prices ‘Through the Roof’

UP NEXT

Juror Dismissed From Trump Hush Money Trial. Prosecutors Seek to Hold Former President in Contempt

UP NEXT

Biden Backs House’s Aid Package for Ukraine, Israel While Speaker Johnson Battles to Retain Position

UP NEXT

Myanmar’s Ousted Leader Suu Kyi Moved From Prison to House Arrest Due to Heat, Military Says

UP NEXT

NPR Editor Suspended Over Claims of Network’s ‘Progressive Worldview’

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

2 hours ago

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

2 hours ago

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

3 hours ago

Melvin and Matzah: Giants Manager Recalls Childhood Passover

3 hours ago

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

4 hours ago

Newsom Wants to Make It Easier for Arizona Women to Get a California Abortion

4 hours ago

By Remembering the Genocide, We Can Help Rebuild Armenia

5 hours ago

Suspect in Killing of Idaho Sheriff’s Deputy Fatally Shot by Police, Authorities Say

5 hours ago

15 People Injured When Tram Collides With Guardrail at Universal Studios Theme Park

5 hours ago

Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief Resigns Over Failure to Prevent Hamas Attack on Oct. 7

6 hours ago

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

LAS VEGAS — A $12 billion high-speed passenger rail line between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area has started construction, officials said...

3 mins ago

3 mins ago

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

Local Education /
1 hour ago

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

2 hours ago

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

2 hours ago

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

2 hours ago

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

3 hours ago

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

3 hours ago

Melvin and Matzah: Giants Manager Recalls Childhood Passover

4 hours ago

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend