Washington officials revealed that when the first "murder hornet" nest was destroyed in the said state in October, scientists found hundreds of live specimens in different stages of development.

According to the Washington State Department of Agriculture, Sven-Erik Spichiger, an entomologist said, there were over "500 Asian giant hornets," which include almost 200 queens that are capable of "starting their own nests."

It actually appears like "we got there just in the nick of time as our original vacuum extraction" appeared to only "give us workers," said Spichiger during a media conference call.

The entomologist added, they only got queens four days after the "cracked it open," and so, should any queens had already left their nest, he explained, it was only a few.

First Nest Discovered in October

Reporting on what the scientists recently found, the Fox News said, the first nest of murder hornets was discovered in a tree. It was then destroyed late last month, in the Whatcom County, along the Canadian border.

According to state officials, the nest was about a basketball's size, and was found after scientists of the state trapped various hornets and attached radio trackers to a number of them through the use of dental floss.

When the nest was opened up, it was discovered to have about 190 in all, larvae that grew from eggs, and around 108 pupae, the stage following larvae. All that the scientists found were reportedly nearly queens.

Aside from the nearly-queens found, officials said they also discovered 112 workers, including 85 that had been formerly vacuumed out of their nest. All of these workers, they said, "survived being vacuumed out of the nest.

Science Times - Scientists Find Over 500 ‘Murder Hornets’ Including Almost 200 Queens
(Photo : WSDA/Karla Salp/Handout via REUTERS)
A radio tracking device fitted by Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologists is seen on one of three Asian giant hornets before they led researchers to a colony in a tree near Blaine, Washington, US.

76 More Queens Found

The agency also reported, on top of the nine drones, the officials 76 more queens too, in which almost all of them, "new virgin queens." New queens, it added, appear from the nest, "mate and then leave" to look for a place to hibernate and start a new colony the following year.

Scientists think there are other nests already existing. They said it is impossible to determine if any queens escaped even before their first nest got destroyed.

Continuing to describe their discovery, Spichiger said, "We know from the literature that a small percentage of these" will continue to build colonies next year, should they get their chance to flee.

Asian Giant Hornets

An aggressive pest not native to the United States, Asian giant hornets are the largest hornet of the world at two inches long. They are also said to be a predator of other insects like honey bees that pollinate many of the crops in the multibillion-dollar industry of the Washington state.

While the Asian giant hornets can bring a painful sting, they only kill at most, few people each year in Asian nations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by comparison, hornets, bees and wasps usually found in the US kill around 62 people each year on average.

In connection to this, state officials are planning to continue trapping the murder hornets for at least three more years to find out if the area is free for them.

It was a year ago when the first Asian giant hornet was discovered in the state and the first one was trapped in July. Many more were caught later in Whatcom County. Meanwhile, murder hornets were also discovered in British Columbia, Canada.

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