Washington state traps its first 'murder hornet'

Washington state traps its first 'murder hornet'

Washington state agriculture workers have have trapped their first Asian giant hornet.

This was the first time the state found a murder hornet in a trap, rather than in the environment, a WSDA press release said. Asian giant hornets attack and destroy honeybee hives.

Scientists have been trying to trap the invasive insects and prevent an infestation since they were first seen in the state in 2019. It normally lives in the forests and low mountains of eastern and southeast Asia.

Officials in Washington state are rushing to capture a unsafe species of invading "murder hornets" before they begin to mate and multiply at the end of summer.

Managing entomologist Sven Spichiger says the next step is to trap a live hornet and follow it to its nest.

"Nevertheless it additionally means now we have work to do".

Now, researchers plan to look for hornet nests using infrared cameras, placing more traps so that a living insect can be caught. Once the colony is found, the agency will attempt to get rid of it. Now, seven months later, state officials have finally managed to catch one of the "murder hornets" - but they have less than two months to catch the rest before mating season begins and the species has a chance to grow.

Destroying the nest earlier than new queens emerge and mate will stop their unfold.

Chris Looney, a entomologist in charge of exotic pests at the Washington State Department of Agriculture, spoke to CBS Sunday Morning about the previous five hornets detected and their predatory impact on honeybees.

Because not only are these beasties potentially deadly to humans and considered an invasive species to boot, they're multiplying. In addition to the hundreds of traps the agency's set, citizen scientists and other cooperators have joined the fight and placed over 1,300 home-made traps in the effort to eradicate these pests.

In Japan - the place they're most typical - homicide hornets kill round 50 individuals every year, the New York Occasions studies.

"We're hoping this is the only one we find for the year, but we have a lot of traps out, and that should help us make sure that we cover the area and take care of any problems", Spichiger said. August and September are when they're most likely to be spotted, according to the news release.

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