Weather Alert

“Murder” Hornets Nest Produces Several Queens

More than 500 Asian giant hornet specimens in various stages of development were collected when entomologists found the first Asian giant hornet nest in the United States. But finding the nest was just the first step in the eradication. After the discovery of the nest site, WSDA entomologists had to safely remove hornets living in the nest, remove the tree, and finally split the tree open to reveal the nest inside.

After opening the tree containing the Asian giant hornet nest on Oct. 29, WSDA entomologists still had a lot of work to do to collect data about what the nest contained. Much like the election, the tallying took quite a bit of time and, to some extent, continues.

The following was found in the Blaine nest:

  • 6 combs
  • Approximately 776 cells – each cell can hold a developing hornet
  • 6 unhatched eggs
  • 190 total larvae
  • 108 capped cells with pupae – pupae are the next stage after larvae
  • 112 workers
  • 9 drones
  • 76 queens which had emerged and 108 queens still in capped cells

Despite multiple applications of carbon dioxide, removal of the workers, and storage in a cold facility, most of the specimens were still alive when the nest was opened.

WSDA will continue trapping through at least Thanksgiving and possibly beyond, but will likely only track worker hornets. Even if no other hornets were to be found, WSDA will continue to trap for at least three more years to demonstrate the area is free from Asian giant hornets.

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