TOPSHOT - Sven Spichiger, Washington State Department of Agriculture managing entomologist, displays a canister of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a nest in a tree behind him on October 24, 2020, in Blaine, Washington. - Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. Workers with the state Agriculture Department spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops. (Photo by Elaine Thompson / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ELAINE THOMPSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
First 'murder hornet' nest found in the US removed
02:04 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

The first nest of giant “murder hornets” ever discovered in the United States has been eliminated, two days after it was located in Washington state.

The Asian giant hornet nest was found on Thursday at 4 p.m. local time by entomologists from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) in the cavity of a tree on a property near the town of Blaine.

Entomologist Sven Spichiger, from the Washington State Department of Agriculture, shows the Asian giant hornets that were vacuumed from their nest in Blaine, Washington on October 24, 2020.

WSDA staff tracked down the nest through radio trackers which they had attached to several captured hornets. They saw dozens of the insects flying in and out of the tree.

An attempt to eradicate the nest took place on Saturday and “appears to have been successful,” the WSDA said in a short statement. “The WSDA Pest Program vacuumed numerous specimens out of the nest,” it added

An Asian giant hornet is pictured in a tree at a property near Blaine, Washington, where a nest of the insects was discovered.

The owner of the property had given the department permission to remove the nest and also the tree if necessary, WSDA said on Friday.

The department will give more information about the removal operation, which was postponed from Friday to Saturday due to “inclement weather,” at a press conference on October 26.

Asian giant hornets, which are not native to the US, were first discovered in Washington state in December last year, leading the WSDA to set up a network of traps around the state with the help of citizen scientists. The first hornet was caught in the state in July.

A small group of these hornets, which are the world’s biggest, can kill a hive of honey bees “in a matter of hours,” according to the WSDA. They usually nest in the ground but can also be found in dead trees.