The US Presidential elect-ion results are not the only thing causing a buzz in Washington – the first nest of Asian giant hornets in the US has also been discovered in the state.
More than 500 of the ‘murder hornets’ were recovered from a tree in Blaine, north of Seattle and close to the Canadian border.
It is the first time that a nest of the invasive species has been found in the United States.
Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologists made the discovery last month.
Carbon dioxide was pumped into the tree openings during the operation before close to 100 of the hornets were vacuumed out.
The tree was then cut down and the section containing the nest opened up so that the remaining hornets could be collected.
Many of the remaining hornets, totalling around 500 in total, were still alive despite the use of the gas, according to officials.
The nest, said to be about 14 inches long by nine inches
wide, included approximately 200 queens.
Sven Spichiger, the agency’s managing entomologist, said: “As far as we can tell, we got there just in time. We know from the literature that a small percentage of these will go on to form colonies next year, should they have been given the chance to escape.”
He admitted that there was no way of knowing if any of the queen hornets had escaped, adding: “From accounts we have, we’re very close to having the majority of them, but I can’t give you an absolute certainly that we got every single one from the nest.”
Officials had been looking for the nest since last month after a member of the public reported seeing the first giant hornet in the region.
After traps were set up, four live hornets were caught with entomologists able to attach radio trackers to three of them – one of which led them to the nest.
Officials fear, however, that there may be other nests in the state as hornets have been captured in various regions after hundreds of traps were set throughout Washington.
The hornets measure two inches in length and just one can destroy an entire honey bee hive in hours.
For humans, the hornet sting is much more painful than that of a bee or wasp.
The invasive species has been found as far away as British Columbia, though the “epicenter” appears to be in Washington, experts said.