Washington State Officials Destroy the Season’s First “Murder Hornet’s Nest” | Washington


Officials in Washington state said they destroyed the first “murder hornet’s nest” of the season, located near the town of Blaine on the Canadian border.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) said it wiped out the Asian giant hornet nest on Wednesday.

The nest was at the foot of a dead alder in rural Whatcom County, about two miles from a nest the agency wiped out last October and about a quarter of a mile from where a resident made a live on Aug. 11 – Reported sighting of a giant Asian hornet.

The location is about a quarter of a mile from the Canadian border.

The Asian giant hornets are sometimes called murder hornets because they hunt other insects, including honeybees.

They are the largest hornets in the world and are not native to North America. They prey on honey bees and other insects and can carry out mass attacks on the hives of smaller bees, which are more or less defenseless against the recently invaded species and destroy the beehive within a few hours.

The hornets were first spotted in the United States in 2019 when a hornet was reported in Whatcom County.

The 2 inch long insects pose a threat to honeybees and native hornet species. While not particularly aggressive towards humans, their sting is extremely painful and repeated stings can be fatal, though infrequent.

Government workers in protective clothing began the eradication on Wednesday by sucking 113 worker hornets from the nest.

Then the team began removing bark and rotten wood near the base of the alder.

Removal of the wood revealed that the hornets had dug up the inside of the tree to make way for the nest, which was made up of nine layers of honeycomb.

The part of the tree with the nest was cut and transported to the Washington State University extension at Bellingham for further analysis. The nest itself had nearly 1,500 hornets in various stages of development.

“Although we are happy to have found and exterminated this nest so early in the season, this discovery proves how important public reporting still is,” said Sven Spichiger, executive entomologist of the WSDA, who fights the killing of the Hornets leads. “We assume there are more nests out there and hope to find them like this one before they can produce new queens.”

Last year, the investigation of the first known murder hornet nest to be removed in the United States found 500 live specimens at various stages of development.

Among them are almost 200 queens who have the potential to set up their own nests, said Spichiger at the time.

Meanwhile, in northern France, a beekeeper who was fed up with his beehives being attacked by murder hornets, which have been around for much longer in France and which apparently arrived in 2004, has developed a homemade trap for the larger insects.

In 2016, Breton beekeeper Denis Jaffré developed a device with a disposable mechanism like a lobster pot to catch the hornets, made from a wooden wine box and a metal grate.

His traps are now 3D printed in plastic. After receiving a French inventor award in 2018, Jaffré began making the traps in large quantities. The demand is so great that he no longer takes orders to catch up.

He has six employees and ships to several European countries.

Lured by a sugary bait, the hornets enter the device through a disposable funnel and, once inside, cannot get out, while smaller insects can quickly escape through small holes in the walls.

“If you don’t set traps, you will see the hornets fly in front of the entrance to the beehive, they catch a bee and fly away with it to cut into pieces elsewhere,” he said.

“It’s very difficult to see that all day,” says beekeeper colleague Christian Petit, who was one of the first to try out Jaffrés trap prototypes.

Jaffré, who also removes hornet nests in homes and gardens, said that while destroying the nests prevents accidents, it does little to stop the insect from spreading.

He said the only way to control the hornets is to systematically catch the whole country with the help of the local government.

Comments are closed.