Experts found and eliminated hundreds of murder hornet nests in Washington state before they were able to wreak havoc upon the Pacific Northwest and other parts of America. After locating more than five hundred specimens of “murder hornets” including some 200 queens, the experts worked quickly to eliminate them before the dangerous insect caused more harm than could be stopped in time.
The “murder hornet” nest was removed on October 24 when entomologists used a vacuum to suck the giant Asian insect from the nests found north of Seattle in Blaine, Washington. But how did these experts find the nests? The details of this heroic act are breathtaking.
Murder hornets were caught in a trap. The entomologists attached tiny trackers to the insects and followed them back to their nests. They discovered that these were the first nests ever found in the United States, and they had to be removed as quickly as possible before they spread further and caused widespread panic.
Members of the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s (WSDA) Pest Program removed the insects once the experts located their home.
Sven Spichiger, the managing entomologist for the Washington State Department of Agriculture, confirmed that their goal is to eradicate the species from Washington state. Spichiger and other entomologists are deeply concerned that the “murder hornet” could spread throughout the United States and cause a lot of problems.
One of the biggest threats they pose is in attacking honeybee colonies. Honeybees are vital to the food chain and pollinate much of America’s food source.
“I’m very encouraged by the support we’ve received from the public and our citizen scientists,” Spichiger said. “And with that type of an effort and with everybody looking and immediately calling them in, we actually do stand a strong chance. So I’m cautiously optimistic we will achieve that goal.”
When the pest control experts and entomologists got close to the murder hornet nest, they wore protective suits. They wrapped the tree with the murder hornet nest and prevented air from escaping so they could use a vacuum to remove the remaining insects and the nest from the tree before they spread across Washington.
“It really seems like we got there just in the nick of time as our original vacuum extraction seemed to only give us workers,” Spichiger added. “We only got queens four days later after we cracked it open, and so if any queens had already left the nest, it was just a few.”
Various Asian countries are home to the species of the hornet. It can be found in China, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, and a few other countries in Southeast Asia. It is the largest hornet in the world – measuring in at two inches.
“The hornets enter a “slaughter phase” where they kill bees by decapitating them. They then defend the hive as their own, taking the brood to feed their own young,” the WSDA said.
Thankfully, scientists were able to stop murder hornets from settling into Washington state. If it was not for experts like this, the country would be overrun with these dangerous insects.
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