clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

This ‘murder hornet’ nest was just destroyed, but one dangerous bug got away

The first ‘murder hornet’ nest from 2021 was destroyed in Washington state

Sven Spichiger, an entomologist with the Washington state Department of Agriculture, poses for a photo with an Asian giant hornet.
In this May 4, 2020, file photo, Sven Spichiger, an entomologist with the Washington state Department of Agriculture, poses for a photo with an Asian giant hornet from Japan mounted on a pin in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren, Associated Press

So it looks like the first Asian giant hornet nest discovered in 2021 was destroyed in Washington state, according to officials.

The nest — which was located in Whatcom County, Washington — was discovered by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

  • It had nine layers of comb and about 1,500 total hornets inside.
  • Staff members used a vacuum to suck up 113 worker hornets. They caught 67 additional hornets.
  • “ One hornet slipped out of the tracking device, another hornet was never located, and one eventually led the team to the nest,” per the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Experts have not ruled out more murder hornet nets popping up in the future.

  • “While we are glad to have found and eradicated this nest so early in the season, this detection proves how important public reporting continues to be,” Sven Spichiger, WSDA managing entomologist said, according to CNN. “We expect there are more nests out there and, like this one, we hope to find them before they can produce new queens. Your report may be the one that leads us to a nest.”

Back in June, Seattle scientists said they discovered a dead Asian giant hornet, which was the first discovery of the hornets this year.

The hornets made headlines in 2020 (including this one that I wrote) because the hornets “can use mandibles shaped like spiked shark fins to wipe out a honeybee hive in a matter of hours, decapitating the bees and flying away with the thoraxes to feed their young.”

Defeating the murder hornets has proven to be relatively easy. But scientists have long worried that Asian murder hornets could come back to the U.S. and establish a stronghold in the West.

  • “If the world’s largest hornet gains a foothold in Washington state, it could spread down much of the West Coast of the United States,” scientists said.