Scientists in Washington State discovered the first so-called killer bumblebee hives in the United States and plan to eliminate them on Saturday to protect local bees.
Nicholas K. GERANIOS Associated Press:
Washington State officials say that scientists have discovered the first so-called killer bumblebee hives in the United States and plan to eliminate them on Saturday to protect local bees.
After several weeks of searching, the agency said it had found an Asian bumblebee nest in Blaine, a city near the Canadian border north of Seattle. Bad weather delayed plans to destroy the nest on Friday.
This invasive insect is the largest bumblebee in the world. It is 2 inches (5 cm) long and can wipe out an entire hive and bring painful stings to people.
Although the nickname of the wasp and the hype about insects have aroused fear in a bleak year, in Asian countries, the wasp kills up to dozens of people each year.
Experts say this may be much less. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that bumblebees, wasps, and bees that are common in the United States kill an average of 62 people each year.
The real threat to Asian hornets is their devastating attacks on bees, which have been surrounded by mites, diseases, pesticides and food loss.
A small swarm of wasps can kill an entire beehive in a matter of hours
A worker from the Washington State Department of Agriculture found the nest after capturing two bumblebees in a trap on Wednesday. The agency said it caught two other live wasps in another trap on Thursday.
Agricultural officials said, “Using dental floss, entomologists were able to install radio trackers on three hornets, and the second of them caused them to find the nest.”
The officials plan to hold a press conference later on Friday.
Since capturing the first Asian hornet earlier this year, scientists in the department have been searching for nests. The first confirmed bumblebee in the United States was found near Bryan in December 2019, and the first bumblebee was trapped in July this year. So far, more than 20 have been captured in Whatcom County.