Did you forget about murder hornets? Because they haven’t forgotten about us.
The meat-eating Asian giant hornets got a lot of buzz earlier this year when they landed in the U.S. for the first time. The winged insect that can grow two inches long, which kill up to 50 people a year in Japan, spurred alarmist headlines after they were spotted in Washington state in the spring. The giant hornets are also known to decimate bee hives, with National Geographic warning in 2002 that “bees, other hornet species, and larger insects such as praying mantises are no match for the giant hornets, which often stalk their prey in relentless armies.”
When the New York Post asked retired New York Police Department beekeeper Anthony “Tony Bees” Planakis whether these giant, venomous hornets are dangerous to humans, he answered, “Absolutely. Oh, my God.”
But there hasn’t been much else reported on them since the spring, with the exception of a viral video showing a praying mantis eating one (which became a Twitter hero for a time), as well as one or two reported murder hornet-related deaths in other countries.
Entomologists with the Washington State Department of Agriculture reported Friday that they’ve located an Asian giant hornet nest in the cavity of a tree on a private property in Blaine, Wash. It’s the first-ever such nest found in the U.S., and officials will attempt to eradicate it on Saturday when the weather clears up.
A high-tech sting operation unearthed the nest, the WSDA statement reveals. A WSDA trapper collected two live Asian giant hornets on Wednesday, and then two more live hornets were also trapped on Thursday. The entomologists were able to attach radio trackers to three hornets, the second of which lead them to the discovery of the nest at about 4 p.m. Thursday.
The property housing the “murder hornet” nest is near an area that has been cleared for a residential home. The owner has given permission to eradicated the nest and the tree, if necessary.
The report also notes that the WSDA has been “actively searching” for Asian giant hornet nests since earlier this year.