3rd Asian Giant Hornet Nest To Be Destroyed Next Week
BLAINE, WA — The Washington State Department of Agriculture will be destroying its third Asian giant hornet nest of 2021 before the end of next week.
The WSDA first reported the third nest's existence back on Saturday, Sept. 11, the same day crews destroyed the second nest.
The first nest of 2021 was found back in August, and eradicated near the end of the month. All three nests were located in rural Whatcom County, just outside of Blaine, Washington.
While the first two nests went down without much of a fight, the third may prove more challenging: unlike other nests, the third nest is embedded high in a tree, about 22 feet off the ground. The WSDA says their crews are moving in specialized equipment to help them reach the hornet's home base, and hope to have it in place and the nest eradicated sometime late next week.
They'll need that equipment, as the eradication process can be complicated. When clearing out that first nest back in August, crews found nearly 1,500 insects inside the hive, and had to use protective suits and tools to vacuum 113 living hornets from the nest. Crews then ripped out bark and decayed wood around the nest's entrance to reach the remainder of the structure.
While crews prepare to clean up the third nest, they're also asking neighbors to keep a look-out for any other Asian giant hornets.
The public's assistance has been key to past eradication efforts. The WSDA only discovered the first nest because a resident living near Blaine reported in after seeing a hornet outside their home. WSDA teams were then able to track a live hornet from that property back to its nest, before clearing it out.
"We expect there are more nests out there and, like this one, we hope to find them before they can produce new queens," said Sven Spichiger, managing entomologist at WSDA. "Your report may be the one that leads us to a nest."
Eradicating any and all nests is a priority for Washington state. The invasive bugs are not native to the continent, and while the so-called 'murder hornets' can kill victims, through stings and spitting venom, they are a much larger threat to the local honeybee population — If the hornets discover a honeybee colony, they will systemically destroy the hive over just a few hours