Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologists have successfully located an Asian murder hornet nest on a property in Blaine, Wash., the agency reported Friday. It’s the first such nest ever found in the U.S.
Scientists have been trapping the so-called “murder hornets” and attempting to track them back to a nest for weeks. Three hornets trapped in nests this week were tagged with tiny radio trackers and one led the WSDA to the nest around 4 p.m. on Thursday.
The nest is inside the cavity of a tree located on private property near an area cleared for a residential home, WSDA said. Dozens of the hornets were seen entering and exiting the tree while the WSDA team was present.
The plan is to try to eradicate the nest on Saturday, and the property owner has given permission to take out the tree if needed.
Asian giant hornets are an invasive pest not native to the U.S., and were first sighted in Northwest Washington in December. They are the world’s largest hornet and a predator of honey bees and other insects, and a small group can kill an entire honey bee hive in a matter of hours
A WSDA web page dedicated to the hornets has been warning people to use extreme caution if they encounter a hornet or nest. The stinger is longer and “more dangerous than any local bee or wasp” and “citizen scientists” have been enlisted around the state to report sightings and help locate nests. The New York Times reported on the insects’ arrival this spring and said in Japan the hornets kill up to 50 people a year.
Originally published at Geekwire