You probably wouldn't want to come face to face with a giant Asian hornet, also known as a 'murder hornet.'
A crew from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) encountered just that. However, they were faced with two giant hornet queens inside a tree.
The crew had already safely vacuumed 98 'murder' hornets from their nest inside a tree in Washington State last Sunday and was carrying out a protocol follow up and removed the actual nest when they discovered the two queens.
The team announced its discovery on Twitter on Wednesday.
Queens caught in action
The WSDA crew explained that it has yet to determine whether these queens are virgin queens, or if one is a virgin queen and the other an older queen.
The team also stated that they have removed the section of the tree where the queens in the nest were found, and plan on opening it up today.
The nest was discovered in the cavity of a tree and vacuumed clear of—almost—every giant Asian hornet on Sunday on a private property in Blaine, Washington.
We were able to take down the tree today. In doing so, we discovered two #AsianGiantHornet queens (either two virgin queens or one virgin queen and the old queen.) We have removed the section of the tree with the nest and plan to open it tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/X22IjkeNtg— WA St Dept of Agr (@WSDAgov) October 28, 2020
The team spent weeks and months looking for the nest, so as to eradicate it. These types of giant Asian hornets are given their ominous 'murder hornet' name as they are detrimental to honeybee colonies, killing them off in vast quantities.
'Murder hornets' are also massive. They are two inches (five centimeters) long, they spit painful venom into eyes, and their stingers are 0.23 inches (six millimeters). No thanks.
The WSDA first noticed one male giant Asian hornet in the state, one of the first of its kind in the country, in December last year. The team then managed to capture two of the hornets in the same Washington area in July this year, attaching little devices to them so as to find the nest—which they ultimately did on Sunday.
All we know is that we wouldn't want to find one of these flying creatures in our garden.