Scientists have destroyed the first nest of “murder hornets” found in the United States.
The scientists from Washington State discovered around 500 hornets in different stages of development. Within the 500, there were 190 larvae (nearly all queens), 108 pupae (the stage after larvae), 112 workers, and 76 queens. The nearly 200 queens could potentially mate and start their own colonies.
“Murder hornets” are the nickname for Asian giant hornets. Asian giant hornets are the largest hornet breed in the world, measuring up to 2 inches long. They are invasive of other insects such as honeybees and can be detrimental to Washington’s agricultural industry which thrives due to the pollination of honeybees. Asian giant hornets can wipe out whole colonies of honeybees. The hornet is commonly found in Asia and is said to kill up to 50 people a year in Japan.
Entomologists first used a vacuum to extract a few hundred hornets before sealing the nest shut. They later opened up the nest to remove the rest of the hornets. The nest was around 14 inches long and eight inches wide.
Scientists are skeptical of some queen bees which may have escaped and form their own colonies. There is no way of knowing whether or not any queen bees were successful in escaping. Scientists will keep out a close eye to make sure these invasive hornets are wiped out before they spread.
Read more about the giant hornets HERE!
Sources: NY Times, Guardian