Can There Be Murder Hornet Good News?

Hornets with radio trackers attached led entomologists to the nest. Washington State Department of Agriculture

If you noted the danger five months ago, and find this topic newsworthy, you know how important it was to find the nest. Finally, after an exhaustive search, they found it and it seems we should count this as good news, especially in a year like 2020:

Murder Hornet Nest, First in U.S., Is Found in Washington State

Officials said they planned to destroy the nest in Blaine, Wash., on Saturday before the voracious Asian giant hornets could multiply and lay waste to bees.

Like detectives closing in on a fugitive hide-out deep in the woods, officials in Washington State announced on Friday that they had located the first murder hornet nest in the United States, tucked in a tree hollow near the Canadian border.

The officials said they planned to destroy the nest in Blaine, Wash., on Saturday before the voracious Asian giant hornets could multiply and begin laying waste to bees that are vital to the survival of the region’s raspberries, blueberries and other crops.

The discovery of the nest — which may contain 100 to 200 hornets — came after weeks of hunting and trapping the insects, which are notorious for using their powerful mandibles to attack and destroy honeybee hives in a matter of hours.

The colony was located in a region of forests and farmland on Thursday, after officials attached radio trackers to three trapped hornets. One of those led them to the nest, which was about eight feet up in a tree on private property near an area that had been cleared for a house.

Asian giant hornets typically nest in the ground, but officials said they had seen dozens of the powerful hornets buzzing in and out of the hollow.

At a news conference on Friday, Sven Spichiger, an entomologist with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, recalled stumbling upon the nest as he followed the radio signal from a hornet until it had grown very strong.

“And at that point,” Mr. Spichiger said, “I actually heard a hornet buzz over my head, so we assumed she had left the location. But then we heard another one buzz over my head, and I took a step back and realized we were actually standing right under the nest. We had in fact tracked her straight back to where she came from. And so we were pretty happy about that.”

Asian giant hornets, which some researchers call murder hornets, burrowed into the American psyche last year after they were discovered for the first time in the United States, in Washington State, prompting officials to issue a pest alert and warn that the hornets pose a threat to honeybees

Read the whole story here.

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