(NBC) — Evidence of six sightings of Asian giant hornets, known as murder hornets, in Washington state have prompted an urgent search for a possible nest. State agriculture officials are working to find and destroy [it] before the hornets enter their “slaughter phase,” when they kill honeybees, which are crucial for pollinating some of the state’s staple crops, such as raspberries and blueberries.
The first of the recent sightings occurred nearly two weeks ago when a private landowner in the town of Blaine in Whatcom County, near the Canadian border, captured two murder hornets.
When the state Department of Agriculture responded to the sighting on Sept. 30, a scientist trapped one hornet alive, a first for the agency, spokeswoman Karla Salp said during the news conference. The number of murder hornets found suggest that a nest has been established in the area, said Spichiger. “We hope to locate the nest in a couple of weeks and eradicate it.”
In order to successfully eradicate the nests, murder hornets need to be caught alive.