Just in time for Halloween, the Washington State Department of Agriculture reveals what was inside a truly haunted house or nest.
Early Friday, entomologists from the WSDA Pest Program cut down the tree which housed a nest of giant Asian hornets, or so-called “murderous hornets,” which had become a frightening reality near Blaine, Wash., before being wiped out last weekend.
The cellophane-wrapped log was sawn inside a cold room at Washington State University’s Puyallup Research and Extension Center in the hopes that cooler temperatures would cause the hornets to stay in. less mobile life.
Last Saturday at space age bee costumes, state personnel sucked 85 hornets from the tree. They were leads to its location – the first such discovery of a nest of giant Asian hornets in the United States – after trapping and tagging a hornet with a tiny radio transmitter.
The team collected more live hornets on Friday, with adult specimens including both new queens and worker bees still in the nest. Several larvae were recovered and white capped cells contained developing adults.
A radio tag that had been attached with dental floss to a previously trapped hornet – and which ultimately led to the location of the nest – was also found inside the tree. The WSDA reported that the tiny tracking device appeared to have been eaten away.
The WSDA plans to spend several days recording data such as number and caste of adult specimens, number and size of nest cells, overall nest size, weight and length of specimens collected, etc. The data will be made public when they are complete and will be published on the State website. Asian Giant Hornet Webpage.
The Asian giant hornet is the largest species of hornet in the world. The very first sightings were in the United States in December in northwestern Washington State. Hornets are known to attack and destroy bee hives during a “slaughter phase” where they kill bees by beheading them.
The WSDA will continue to monitor the pest. The citizen science trappers of Whatcom, Skagit, Island and San Juan counties in Washington keep the traps for about a month.
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