With a three-inch wingspan and a potent, venomous stinger, the Asian giant hornet is the world's largest species of hornet, and a fearsome killing machine. This week, they were able to collect four live Asian giant hornets using a new type of trap - and managed to attach radio trackers to three of them. The state now plans to destroy the nest.
The first Asian giant hornet was spotted in Washington in December 2019 and scientists trapped their first insect in July.
The hornets then occupy honeybee nests for up to a week or more, feeding on the pupae and larvae.
"We've been purposefully walking the trails trying to kind of hunt them, so it's been exciting", she said.
The WSDA believes there was a good chance that there are more nests and "stopping this cold is very crucial", said Sven Spichiger, an entomologist with WSDA, during a press conference Friday afternoon.
As Asian giant hornet nests go, it's not huge. It was tucked inside a tree's cavity, and dozens of the big hornets were seen buzzing around it, the AP said. "Just over 20 have been caught so far, all in Whatcom County". With bee populations already in decline in the US, in what's known as "colony collapse disorder", the hornets pose another threat to the ecosystem if they become established. The property owner is allowing the state to eradicate the nest and remove the tree.