A basketball-sized 'murder hornet' nest in Washington state in the U.S. was completely obliterated on Saturday by a Washington State Department of Agriculture team.
The heavily protected crew spent weeks searching and tracking the Asian giant hornets, also eerily known as 'murder hornets' because of their painful stings and killing sprees against honeybees. The team ultimately found the nest on a property in Blaine, Washington, last Thursday.
It appears to be the first-ever murder hornet nest found in the U.S., which can accommodate around 100 to 200 hornets, per the Associated Press (AP).
How did the team extract the nest?
The thick protective suits the Washinton team was wearing belong in a sci-fi movie. However, regardless of how they looked, these suits prevented the six-millimeter-long stingers from the two-inch-long hornets from hurting each person. Protective face gear was also worn to keep the venom these hornets can spit from hurting the team members' eyes. You can see why they're called 'murder' hornets.
The team then used a vacuum to direct the hornets into large canisters, per CNET.
On top of these protective measures, the tree which housed the nest will be cut down to remove any newborn hornets and to see if any queen hornets have already left the hive, per the scientists working on the project.
The search doesn't end there, as the team will keep looking for other potential nests in the area, which are suspected of existing.
Got ‘em. Vacuumed out several #AsianGiantHornets from a tree cavity near Blaine this morning. Further details will be provided at a press conference on Monday. Staff not available for interviews before then. pic.twitter.com/31kgAUuJd0— WA St Dept of Agr (@WSDAgov) October 24, 2020
Just to be clear, though, even though these hornets host an ominous name, they roughly kill a dozen people per year in their native Asian countries. The true reason for their name stems from their devastating attacks on the much-smaller honeybees.
It is an invasive species, which is typically found in Japan, China, South Korea, Vietnam, among other Asian nations. So far, in the U.S. these giant Asian hornets have only been discovered in Washington state in the U.S., and in British Columbia in Canada, per the AP.