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Search Continues To Find Nest Of Murder Hornets

State Agricultural officials in Washington are continuing to search for a nest of Asian Giant Hornets. Their biggest concern is that these hornets could kill honeybees which are crucial for pollinating the state’s blueberry and raspberry crops.

Last week, six hornets were found in Whatcom County. This number is roughly double the number of hornets previously found in the state, and could be an indication that there is a nest of these hornets in the immediate area.

“We believe we are dealing with a nest,” said Sven-Erik Spichiger, a department entomologist. “We hope to locate the nest in a couple of weeks and eradicate it.”

Asian giant hornets are the world’s largest at two inches long. This insect is typically found in China, Japan, Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam. They were first discovered in Washington state last year. No one knows how this invasive insect arrived in North America.

A few hornets can destroy a beehive in a matter of hours. The hornets enter a “slaughter phase” where they kill bees by decapitating them. Once in control, they defend the hive as if it were their own, taking the brood to feed their young.

Asian hornets don’t generally attack people or pets, but they can attack if they feel threatened. Their stinger is longer than a honeybee’s and their venom is more toxic. They can also sting repeatedly, unlike a honeybee which can only sting one time before it dies.

A live Asian giant hornet was recently trapped and officials tried to glue a radio tag on it so they could follow it back to the nest. Unfortunately, the radio tag fell off and the hornet was no longer able to fly. They are hoping to find another live hornet so they can try and do this again.

To date, fifteen of these hornets have been spotted since they were first discovered in the state.