(NewsReady.com) – Agriculture officials in Washington state are fighting a high-tech battle against invading Asian giant hornets. So far, they’re on the defensive. Last week, they destroyed a huge nest full of the dangerous insects, but officials say there are more nests. They just don’t know where.
On August 25, Washington Department of Agriculture officials tracked a so-called “murder hornet” – one of three they’d captured and fitted with miniature tracking devices – to its nest. The nest contained almost 1,500 hornets, from larvae to adults, and the team caught another 67 with nets in the surrounding area.
The first ‘murder hornet’ nest of 2021 was just found in Washington state — here’s how scientists find, tag, and get rid of the invasive species pic.twitter.com/WX4ncEUQkG
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) August 24, 2021
Asian giant hornets grow to be over two inches long, and their stings can be agonizing to humans – or deadly, if multiple hornets attack. They’re notorious for destroying honeybee colonies, which can seriously affect crop pollination. Scientists estimate that if the species becomes established in the US, it could cost farmers over $100 million a year in lost crops.
Officials have only found murder hornets in Vancouver and northern Washington, but the climate as far south as Oregon and across New England suits them. If they’re allowed to spread, they could become common in much of the continental US. Washington officials want the public to be alert for the huge insects and report any sightings immediately. Agriculture Department entomologist Sven Spichiger said, “Your report may be the one that leads us to a nest” – and it’s imperative to destroy nests if we’re going to beat this murderous invader.
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