Oct. 24 (UPI) — Washington state entomologists said they have found the first nest of Asian giant hornets, also known as murder hornets, in the United States, north of Seattle.
Researchers found the first hornets, which can devastate honeybees and their hives, in the region last fall and have been on the hunt ever since for possible nests. After weeks of trapping, searching and radio trackers, entomologists were able to find the nest on a property in Blaine, near the Canadian border.
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Washington State Department of Agriculture crews planned to eradicate the nest Saturday. They wanted to do it Friday but couldn’t because of the weather.
The entomologists said they attached radio trackers on three hornets they captured on Thursday, which led them to the nest.
“The nest is inside the cavity of a tree located on private property near an area cleared for a residential home,” the agency said. “While Asian giant hornets normally nest in the ground, they are occasionally found nesting in dead trees. Dozens of the hornets were seen entering and exiting the tree while the WSDA team was present.”
Managing entomologist Sven Spichiger said they expect to eradicate from 100 to 200 hornets from the tree using a vacuum.
“We will be jamming foam into the entrance and Saran-wrapping it so that we can control the release of hornets from the nest,” Spichiger said. “This will allow us to do the vacuum extraction in a little bit more controlled environment.”
The first murder hornets were located in British Columbia in Canada last fall and then in Whatcom County, Wash., in December.