Washington scientists kill 85 Asian murder hornets — but the ‘fight is not over’

Humans have won the battle, but the war wages on.

Entomologists from the Washington Department of Agriculture killed 85 murder hornets and captured 13 live ones when they destroyed the first nest ever found in the United States — but the “fight isn’t over,” the department said Monday.

Space-suited specialists “vacuumed” dozens of the Asian giant hornets out of the nest in Blaine, Washington Saturday, and captured another 13 live insects with a net.

“Although we have conducted our first nest eradication, this fight is not over,” Karla Salp, a spokeswoman for the WSDA, said at a news briefing on Monday.

The nest was discovered in a cavity in a tree Thursday, after more than a dozen of the invasive insects have been spotted in the state since last year.

The venomous hornets can grow up to two inches long and can decimate entire hives of honeybees. They can also deliver painful stings to humans which can in rare cases be fatal.

The captured giant hornets will be given to various researchers, Salp said.

To eradicate the nest, a team of entomologists donned protective suits, filled the tree cavity with foam and wrapped the tree in cellophane — leaving just a single opening to vacuum the hornets from the nest.

WSDA tweeted out a video of the daring capture.

“While this is certainly a morale boost, this is only the start of our work to hopefully prevent the Asian giant hornet from gaining a foothold in the Pacific Northwest,” Sven-Erik Spichiger, an entomologist who directed the nest eradication, said in a statement.

However, the much-prized queen hornet has not yet been found, with Spichiger saying they hope to find the queen inside the tree.

The WSDA also warned that more nests are likely lurking in Whatcom County. The department said it will continue to lay traps “through at least November” in pursuit of more murder hornets.

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