The Washington State Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that it has destroyed the first giant murder hornets nest of the year.
CBS News reports the nest was found a quarter mile from the Canadian border, in the base of a tree in Whatcom County, Washington. Officials says the hive was located just two miles from the nest that WSDA destroyed last October. The nest contained close to 1,500 hornets in different development stages, officials said. Meanwhile, another 67 hornets were captured during the destruction process.
“While we are glad to have found and eradicated this nest so early in the season, this detection proves how important public reporting continues to be,” Sven Spichiger, WSDA managing entomologist said in news release. “We expect there are more nests out there and, like this one, we hope to find them before they can produce new queens. Your report may be the one that leads us to a nest.”
Anne LeBrun, National Policy Manager for Pollinator Pest Programs with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, maintained that collaboration between State and Federal agencies is necessary to preventing murder hornets from establishing nests across the U.S.
“We are pleased to play a role in this collaborative success by sharing technical expertise, providing financial support, and collaborating on survey and research efforts,” said LeBrun. “Public involvement remains an essential part of eradicating this hornet.”
The world’s largest hornet, Asian giant hornets are often referred to as “murder hornets.” They prey on honey bees and other insects, and are capable of slaughtering a honey bee hive within a matter of hours.
The hornet’s sting can sometimes be lethal to humans as well, though it is rare.