The first Asian giant hornet nest found in the United States has been dismantled, authorities in Washington State said on Saturday, a day after the nest was discovered.
“Got ’em,” the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) said in a statement posted to Facebook, alongside a video that showed dozens of the insects trapped inside a clear, one-metre cylinder.
The hornets’ removal came a day after authorities announced the discovery of the nest in a tree cavity in the town of Blaine, near the US border with Canada.
The two-inch insects, dubbed “murder hornets” because their sting can be fatal to some humans, especially following multiple stings, had been sighted several times throughout the state, but a nest had not been found until this week.
“Today’s Asian giant hornet nest removal appears to have been successful,” the agency said in its Facebook post, adding that pest control workers “vacuumed numerous specimens” out of the nest.
The agency said further details would be announced at a news conference on Monday.
In September, the WSDA said it hoped to find and eradicate the hornets’ nest by mid-month before new queens emerged and mated, which would help it “prevent the spread” of the invasive species.
The hornets are predatory to honey bees and other important insects.
The department said it had captured four live hornets in two separate traps on October 21 and October 22 and entomologists were able to attach radio trackers to three of those hornets. One of them led them to the nest.
Asian giant hornets, which have also been sighted in the Canadian province of British Columbia, just north of the Washington state border, can sting through most beekeeper suits, The Associated Press news agency reported.
They deliver nearly seven times the amount of venom as a honey bee and can sting multiple times, AP news agency said.
The department of agriculture in Washington state has cautioned that while the hornets are not generally aggressive towards humans, they can pose a health threat.
“Their string is more dangerous than that of local bees and wasps and can cause severe pain, swelling, necrosis, and, in rare cases, even death,” it says on its website.