UPDATED 1:05 PM PT – Friday, August 27, 2021
On Thursday, the Washington State Department of Agriculture said officials found and destroyed the first Asian giant hornet nest of the season. In rural Whatcom County, the Department said they were able to locate the nest using a hornet that had been previously tagged.
According to state officials, the nine-layer nest had nearly 1,500 hornets inside at various stages of development.
“One of the hornets that we had tagged just kept appearing and reappearing on our radio receiver devices and we were able to team up with not just the USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture], but also the Oregon Department of Agriculture and eventually follow it back to the nest, which is where eyes were laid on it by one of the members of the Oregon Department of Agriculture,” said Sven Spichiger, an entomologist for the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
Our team eradicated the first #AsianGiantHornet nest of the year yesterday. Read about it in our press release or tune into our press conference at 11 a.m. live streaming on YouTube. https://t.co/hY2MZJVqVd #SoundOn pic.twitter.com/U2CMgN5y2C
— Washington State Department of Agriculture (@WSDAgov) August 26, 2021
Once locating the nest, authorities said the hornets made their home at the base of a dead alder tree, similar to one officials destroyed last October. Also known as the “murder hornets,” the insects are the largest hornets in the world and are an invasive species to North America.
They are known to prey on honey bees and their hives. Officials say it only takes a few hours for a group of hornets to destroy a bee hive.
In the meantime, the State Department of Agriculture said it would continue to hunt down and search for murder hornets through the end of September.