When scientists in Washington state destroyed the first nest of so-called murder hornets found in the U.S., they discovered about 500 live specimens in various stages of development, officials said Tuesday. Among them were nearly 200 queens that had the potential to start their own nests, said Sven-Erik Spichiger, an entomologist leading the fight to kill the hornets.
“We got there just in the nick of time,” he said.
Still, that didn’t end the threat from the giant insects that can deliver painful though rarely deadly stings to people and wipe out entire hives of honey bees.
Scientists think other nests already exist and say it’s impossible to know if any queens escaped before the first nest was destroyed.