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‘Murder hornet’ nest vacuumed out of tree in Washington

A Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) entomologist completes an operation to remove a colony of Asian giant hornets by vacuum from a tree after they were discovered near Blaine, Washington, US October 24, 2020. — WSDA/Handout via pic Reuters

OCT 24 — A team of entomologists in full-body protective gear vacuumed Asian giant hornets out of a tree in Washington state yesterday, eradicating the first nest of the so-called murder hornets found in the United States.

The state’s agricultural department said it had spent weeks searching for and trapping the hornets, which attack honeybee hives and could pose a threat to humans, because they can sting repeatedly with venom that is stronger than a honeybee’s.

The state’s entomologists succeeded by attaching radio trackers to three hornets they had trapped earlier in the week, one of which they followed to the nest, located in a tree near Blaine, Washington, on Thursday.

They returned yesterday to make the extraction.

“Got ‘em. Vacuumed out several #AsianGiantHornets from a tree cavity near Blaine this morning,” the agriculture department said on Twitter, adding that more details would be provided at a news conference tomorrow.

The stinging hornet, the world’s largest, can grow as large as 2-1/2 inches (6.4 cm) in length and is native to Southeast Asia, China and Taiwan. It was first discovered in the United States in December by a homeowner in Blaine.

Aside from the danger to humans, the hornet presents a threat to agriculture and the apiary industry, officials have said, because it is a known predator of honey bees, with a few of the hornets capable of wiping out an entire hive in hours. — Reuters

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