‘Murder Hornets’ nest cut from tree in Washington State; 1,500 developing insects found inside


An Asian giant hornet queen is shown in a nest in a tree in Whatcom County, Washington. (WSDA photo)

Another Asian giant hornet’s nest was removed from a tree in Washington as the state’s Department of Agriculture tries to stay one step ahead of the invasive pest sometimes referred to as the “murder hornet.”

The WSDA retrieved the nest from inside an alder in Whatcom County, east of Blaine, Washington, on Wednesday. It was about two miles from where a nest was cut from another tree last year, and not far from where a live hornet was sighted on August 11th.

The WSDA said in a press release on Thursday that its staff had sucked 113 hornets from workers’ nests and caught a further 67 hornets in the area. When bark and rotted wood were removed from the base of the tree, the workers found that the hornets had chewed out the inside of the tree to make room for a nine-crested nest. It contained nearly 1,500 hornets in various stages of development.

A WSDA employee poses by the Asian giant hornet nest in a tree in rural northwest Washington state. (WSDA photo)

The portion of the tree with the nest was cut and shipped to Washington State University Extension in Bellingham, Washington for further analysis.

The nest was located last week using tiny radio location technology strapped to a hornet that was caught in a trap and then released. The high-tech insect tracking method was deployed last year and included some device insights and guidance from a University of Washington researcher.

The WSDA commended the public’s help in further locating and identifying the hornets.

“Although we are happy to have found and exterminated this nest so early in the season, this discovery proves how important public reporting continues to be,” said Sven Spichiger, WSDA’s executive entomologist in a statement. “We assume there are more nests out there and hope to find them like this one before they can produce new queens. Your report could be the one that leads us to a nest. “

The Asian giant hornet does not come from the USA and is the largest species of hornet in the world. The first sightings in the United States took place in December 2019 in Washington state. The hornets are known to attack and destroy honey beehives and can kill an entire beehive in a matter of hours.

The WSDA will continue to catch Asian giant hornets until the end of November.

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