One of the many signs of the apocalypse vomited forth from the roiling guts of 2020 was a report from The New York Times about the arrival of “murder hornets,” an invasive species of insect known less impressively as the Asian giant hornet. These bugs are an issue not just because they’re huge and frightening, but also because they like to eat their tinier, less murder-y cousins and could devastate North American bee populations if left unchecked. They’re also hard to track down and kill.
Luckily, scientists have now successfully employed a technique that may turn the tide in the great murder hornet war.
Since last year, brave soldiers on the Washington front have been trying to take the battle to the murder hornet’s homes by attaching trackers to their big scary bug bodies so their well-hidden nests can be located. After a couple of failures, the plan has finally worked and the first nest of the year was destroyed last week.
A press release from Washington State Department Of Agriculture (WSDA) says the nest was discovered last Wednesday, August 25th in a tree “in rural Whatcom County,” which is “about one-quarter mile from the Canadian border.” (The hornets were obviously using this location as a staging ground for their invasion into a second country.) A WSDA team vacuumed up 113 worker hornets and 67 others nearby before taking a part of the nest away to study and then destroying the rest. There were “nearly 1,500 hornets in various stages of development” elsewhere in the bugs’ home.
The press release also includes a photo of a scientist flashing a thumbs-up next to the destroyed nest while wearing the same outfit required to corral E.T. (To see more of the process in action—and marvel at what kind of protective equipment’s required to handle murder hornets—check out this clip.)
The WSDA urges locals to report any other nests they find so they can be busted up “before they can produce new queens.” It also offers the solid wartime slogan: “Your report may be the one that leads us to a nest.” With your vigilance and the tracker technology, the end of this terrible war may finally be approaching.
[via Boing Boing]
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