Asian giant hornet nest destroyed in northwest Washington

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The venom from a “murder hornet,” as its name indicates, can be fatal to humans in extreme cases or mass attacks. (Elaine Thompson/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

BLAINE, Wash. (AP) — Officials say they’ve destroyed a second nest of Asian giant hornets found in northwestern Washington state this year and are preparing to take down a third.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture said in a Facebook post that a team eradicated the nest Saturday in northern Whatcom County, near the town of Blaine along the Canadian border.

It said a third nest this season has been located and that planning is underway to eradicate it.

The nests have been within a few miles (kilometers) of each other. The first nest this year was destroyed in August. The hornets were first detected in the U.S. in 2019 in Whatcom County.

Asian giant hornets are an invasive pest not native to the U.S. They are the world’s largest hornet at 2 inches (5 centimeters) long, and a predator of other insects, including honey bees that pollinate many of the crops in Washington’s agriculture industry.

While not particularly aggressive toward humans, their sting is extremely painful and repeated stings, though rare, can kill. They’re sometimes called murder hornets because they prey on other bees.

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