The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to exterminate a living Asian giant hornet nest this week


Asian giant hornets nest is due to be exterminated this week

The Washington State Department of Agriculture will eradicate the second Asian giant hornets found in Whatcom County.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture plans to eradicate a living Asian giant hornet nest this week.

The nest is the first living nest to be found in 2021, the second in Whatcom County. The sighting was reported by someone east of Blaine at the base of a tree on the property on Aug. 11.

Ted McFall, owner of McFall Beeyard, said his honey bees were quiet during a beehive inspection on Monday. He said he was relieved to see his bees have been considered, especially after growing concerns about the Asian giant hornet.

“I basically lived in fear. I mean, it’s very daunting never to know when the murder hornets will appear and slaughter your bees,” said McFall. “Murder hornets appear and they just bite off the heads of the honey bees and the honey bees cannot protect themselves. You will of course try to fight, but you will not be able to defeat a murder horror sad. “

McFall is a third generation beekeeper in Custer who has never seen anything like the invasive hornet. He said he lost his strongest and healthiest colony of around 60,000 bees in 2019.

“That’s when I noticed beheaded bees all over the front of the colony. And when I rummaged through the bodies and looked at them, I really had no explanation for what it could have been, ”said McFall.

The beekeeper said at the time that he did not know what triggered the attack on his honeybees. Shortly after this incident, a sighting of a giant Asian hornet was reported just a few miles away in Whatcom County.

TIED TOGETHER: Second Asian giant hornet sighting reported in Whatcom County in 2021

When the Department of Agriculture received reports of the new live nest, which is also located near McFall’s beehives, he acted quickly.

“We have these little cage devices that we put on the front of a beehive to slow down a slaughter. The murder hornet is still going to kill a gatherer who will come and go, they will still kill a beehive that way, but at least we … have something to hold them back, “said McFall.

State entomologists placed trackers on three hornets and released them between August 11 and 17. One of the hornets led the researchers back to the live nest near Blaine.

McFall said finding the invasive beetles while they are still alive is important as it is easier to track and eradicate a colony.

“It’s going to be a huge threat that is gone,” said McFall.

He fears that the invasive beetles could affect more than just honey bees.

“If murder hornets are not controlled, then they will roam all of the United States and just slaughter bees wherever they want. That will cause food prices to rise because the farmers pay me to bring them.” [bees] to plant their land, “said McFall.[Farmers] expect these bees to be there because if I don’t get them there, apples will get a lot smaller and blueberries will have poor yields. It’s going to take food prices to go up, and that’s something nobody wants these days. “

He said anyone can help raise public awareness. The state said it helped crews locate the living nest thanks to a photo and a detailed status report from a property owner.

“That’s exactly how they found this nest. A lady spotted a murder hornet on her house and she took a picture of it, sent it to the Department of Agriculture, they found the nest right, and now they’re” going to eradicate it, “said McFall .

McFall said the more people know about Asian giant hornets and what to look out for, the more honeybees they can save.

“We don’t want people to just see some big ones and start killing things because we don’t want people to kill bumblebees, we don’t want people to kill cicada killers, we don’t want people to kill certain things that we need here. Said McFall.

The Department of Agriculture has more information on the hornets and what to watch out for. The department caught their first living nest in 2020. Officials said eradicated nests are on display at the Smithsonian Museum.

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