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First ‘murder horn’ caught in Washington state



Scientists have been trying to catch the invasive insects and prevent an attack since they were first discovered in the state last year. More than two inches long, the horn derives its nickname from their tendency to attack and kill honeybees and potentially humans.

Until now, five giant hornets were officially seen in the state. This is the first to be found in a trap, according to a news release.
Invasive giant hornets have been seen in the United States for the first time

Officials announced Friday that earlier this week they had identified the Asian giant horn from a trap collected near Birch Bay on July 14.

“This is encouraging because it means we know the traps work,” said Sven Spichiger, chief entomologist for the Washington Department of Agriculture (WSDA) in the announcement. “But it also means we have work to do.”

This work includes looking for nests using infrared cameras and setting more traps, the message said. The state Department of Agriculture plans to deploy special traps that catch the hornets and keep them alive so they can be tagged and tracked back to their colonies. Once the agency finds the colonies, they will destroy them.

The hope is to find the nest in mid-September before the colony begins to create new reproducing queens and drones, the statement said.

Scientists are not sure how these giant hornets, which are native to Asia, ended up in the state of Washington.

Among the options are international container ships, purchases sent to the United States, travelers visiting the United States or returning from another country, the state says on its website.
Agricultural officials in Washington are asking beekeepers and residents to report any sightings of the giant hornets. August and September are when they are most likely to be spotted, according to the news release.

But do not get too close.


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