Officials in Washington state are searching to find and destroy a murder hornet nest after more and more of the invasive insects have been found in its northeastern region.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture is scouring the small town of Blaine for a nest after evidence of six of the giant hornets were found over the weekend, increasing the likelihood of a nest.
“We believe we are dealing with a nest,″ said Sven-Erik Spichiger, a department entomologist. “We hope to locate the nest in a couple of weeks and eradicate it.”
The Asian giant hornets, which can grow up to two inches in length, can easily destroy entire hives of honeybees. Agriculturalists in the state are worried that, if established, the hornets could threaten a local honeybee population farmers in the region depend on to pollinate a wide variety of crops.
One of the hornets was trapped alive, a first for the agency, spokeswoman Karla Salp said.
The insects are typically found in China, Thailand, Japan and South Korea — but scientists were puzzled when they documented the hornets in Washington late last year. Officials have since found 15 hornets around Blaine.
Repeated murder hornet stings can kill humans, though such incidents are extremely rare.
Scientists in Blaine are hoping to catch more live hornets to try and glue tracking devices on them in hopes the insects will lead them to a nest.
Officials attempted to glue a radio tag on the first murder hornet trapped over the past few days, but in the process of trying to adhere the tag, the hornet lost its ability to fly.
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