• Hithesh Jain

First Murder Hornet Nest successfully removed in the US

Anupama Ratheesh

25th October 2020

Washington, US - The first murder hornet nest in Washington, the United States — has been gotten rid of few days after being located. The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) was able to trace and get rid of the nest in a tree's cavity in Blaine.

According to People, WSDA attached radio trackers to three hornets in order to discover the nest. The tree will be cut down to see if the queens have left the nest and look for newborn deadly hornets. The cavity entrance will be jammed with foam and Saran-wrapped to control the nest's release of hornets. This process allows vacuum extraction to take place in a more controlled environment.

Tracking device being fit into a hornet by a scientist in Washington. (Source- Thomas Reuters)

The WSDA Pest Program was able to vacuum a large number of hornets out of the tree. The managing entomologist, Sven Spichiger, stated that the species usually nest on the ground, so discovering a nest 8 feet above the ground was not expected.

The Asian giant hornet invades a standard honey bee hive and tears them down entirely in a few hours. They do this by beheading the bees and feeding the larvae to other young murder hornets. The first giant hornet was found in July 2020. Beekeepers in Washington noticed half their bees with their heads ripped off. Citizen scientists have helped WSDA set up around 1,400 traps throughout Washington to avoid the spread of these hornets.

According to the New York Times, these species of giant hornets are native to tropical areas such as Mainland Southeast Asia, South Asia, and East Asia. The species has been given the nickname 'murder hornet' in the countries because of the venom it carries, which is as dangerous as a venomous snake. These hornets kill nearly 50 people in Japan every year. Though the hornet does not attack people or animals, it can be a threat.

Seth Truscott from the College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resources at Washington State University said, "Their stings are big and painful, with a potent neurotoxin. Multiple stings can kill humans, even if they may not be allergic".

(Sources- Abc News, People, The New York Times)

Edited by- Sravanthi Neralla

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