First-Ever U.S. 'Murder Hornet' Nest Located Using Radio Trackers
Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) entomologists have found the first-ever U.S. Asian giant hornet, otherwise known as 'murder hornet', nest and its discovery is nothing short of a James Bond movie.
Indeed the specialists had to put in weeks of trapping and searching to finally trace back the nest of these dangerous insects.
But why dangerous? Because Asian giant hornets are an invasive pest that is not native to the U.S. The insects threaten to wipe out the North American bee population, a crucial population for the environment. "Only a couple of hornets can slaughter an entire healthy honeybee hive in just a matter of a few hours," Sven-Erik Spichiger, chief entomologist for the Washington State Department of Agriculture, told NPR last week.
While they do sound like nightmare-fuel, you can actually see one enjoying strawberry jam after being tagged by the WSDA.
How did they find the location?
The giant hornets were discovered on a property in Blaine and the agency will now proceed to attempt to eradicate the nest even if it means eliminating the tree. But what is most impressive is how the entomologists finally traced the nest's location.
It all began when a WSDA trapper collected four hornets and attached tiny radio trackers to three of them, succeeding in following one back to its nest.
In true 2020 fashion, our last video accidentally had several minutes of black screen at the end. Here's what we meant to post of the #AsianGiantHornet nest found in a tree cavity in Whatcom County. pic.twitter.com/f1vO8qxmly— WA St Dept of Agr (@WSDAgov) October 23, 2020
"The nest is inside the cavity of a tree located on private property near an area cleared for a residential home. While Asian giant hornets normally nest in the ground, they are occasionally found nesting in dead trees. Dozens of the hornets were seen entering and exiting the tree while the WSDA team was present," said the WSDA in its press release.
The WSDA has been on the hunt for Asian giant hornet nests since the first such hornets were caught earlier this year. The agency made use of citizen scientists to place a notable network of traps that would eventually lead to the insects' nest. That's good news for the honey bees who will hopefully now be kept safe and sound!
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