Lastly, some excellent news this yr.
Entomologists in Washington have destroyed the primary nest of Asian big hornets, or homicide hornets, as they’ve develop into identified in our collective nightmares, found in the U.S., the Related Press reviews.
Crews clad head-to-toe in thick protecting gear, trying like they stepped straight out of HBO’s Chernobyl, labored to hoover the invasive species from the hole of a tree into cumbersome canisters on Saturday. If it seems to be like overkill, do not forget that these hornets didn’t earn such a terrifying nickname for nothing: Their stings have been described as “like having red-hot thumbtacks” stabbed into you, and the fits maintain employees shielded from their 6-millimeter-long stingers. The crew got here outfitted with face shields, too. Because did I point out these items have additionally been identified to spit painful venom into folks’s eyes?
After a weeklong search, the Washington State Division of Agriculture found the basketball-sized nest on Friday after outfitting three hornets with radio trackers utilizing dental floss. The nest, which contained an estimated 100 to 200 hornets in keeping with the scientists, was discovered in the town of Blaine close to the Canadian border the place a number of homicide hornets have been noticed, the AP reviews.
Officers suspect that extra nests may very well be shut by, and can proceed looking out the world. The tree the nest was discovered in can even be reduce all the way down to suss out any new child hornets and be taught if any queens have already left the hive, scientists mentioned, per the AP. A information briefing on the standing of the nest is scheduled for Monday, the company tweeted.
Asian big hornets are the biggest hornet identified on Earth and their queens can attain over 2 inches (5 cm) lengthy. The nickname homicide hornet comes from the havoc they wreak on their prey, decapitating bees and different bugs with their “mandibles shaped like spiked shark fins” and decimating complete hives in just a few hours. Technically, they’ll survive on tree sap alone, however they appear to want munching on colony-living bugs as an alternative.
Whereas these hornets aren’t identified to actively assault people, their stings will be deadly, and as much as 50 folks a yr are believed to be killed by them in Japan, although these estimates range. They pose way more of a menace to honeybees and, by extension, the farmers that rely on these bees for propagating their crops. Within the areas of Asia native to homicide hornets, native bee populations have developed a horrifying however efficient protection towards them (it includes cooking the hornet alive with their collective physique warmth, and it’s steel as fuck).
Sadly, bees in America, the place these hornets started inexplicably popping up in 2019, haven’t any such protection. Scientists in Washington have been dashing to find the hornets’ nests earlier than their “slaughter phase”—aka once they gorge themselves on prey to arrange for the subsequent stage of their life cycle. Hopefully, the destruction of this nest marks an enormous step towards eradicating this invasive species earlier than that occurs.