Hundreds of so-called “murder hornets” have been killed after officials in Washington state managed to track down and destroy their huge nest.
The Asian giant hornet nest was destroyed Wednesday near Blaine, just south of the Canadian border, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
The nest was found in the base of a dead alder tree about two miles from where the first-ever murder hornet nest was found in the US last October.
Officials vacuumed 113 live hornets from the nest and captured 67 others in the vicinity.
The nest itself had nearly 1,500 hornets in various stages of development.
The hornets had completely eradicated the inside of the tree to build their nine-layer nest, according to officials.
Officials had been trying to locate the nest ever since a resident snapped a photo of a live hornet attacking a wasp on Aug. 11.
Following that sighting, traps were set up in the area to try to catch a live one so officials could tag it and eventually track it back to its nest.
“We expect there are more nests out there and, like this one, we hope to find them before they can produce new queens,” said Sven Spichiger, a managing entomologist with the state department of agriculture.
The hornets — deemed an “invasive pest” — are known to decimate hives of honeybees that pollinate crops.
A small group of Asian giant hornets, which can grow up to 2 inches long, can kill an entire honeybee hive in a matter of hours.
Hornets are not particularly aggressive toward people but their stings are extremely painful and can be deadly.
The first hornet nest discovered in Washington last October contained about 500 live specimens, including nearly 200 queens.
Scientists destroyed the basketball-size nest soon after it was found.
Of the nearly 200 queens discovered, almost 76 were grown virgins, which have the potential to leave, mate and then start their own nests, officials said at the time.