Scientists have captured a ‘murder hornet’ for the first time prompting a rush to find the terrifying insects’ colony before mating season starts.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) said more than 1,300 traps have been set to snare the insect since the species invaded the US late last year.
The two-inch Asian giant hornets get their nickname because of their tendency to rip the heads off of honeybees in large numbers, not to mention their potentially fatal sting.
After five reported sightings across the state, the WSDA confirmed one had been caught in a trap near Birch Bay in Whatcom County on July 14.
The agency’s managing entomologist Sven Spichiger said: ‘This is encouraging because it means we know that the traps work.
‘But it also means we have work to do.’
That will include using infrared cameras to search for nests and placing additional traps in order to try and catch live Asian giant hornet specimens.
They will then be tagged and hopefully traced back to their colonies so they can be destroyed.
The WSDA said it hopes to find and eradicate the nest by mid-September before the colony begins creating new reproducing queens and drones and preventing their spread.
Experts still aren’t sure how the giant hornets ended up invading Washington state from Asia.
The possibilities include via international container ships, purchases shipped into the US, travellers visiting the States or others returning from overseas.
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