|Photo: Disclosure / WSDA|
The first nest of calls “killer wasps“was destroyed in the United States by officials from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA). During the operation, which resulted in the death of 85 insects, in addition to another 13 captured alive, no scientist was injured.
The operation was carried out in Whatcom County, near the Canadian border.
Killer wasps were first detected in the United States earlier this year. Originating in Asia, they are known for a sting that can kill humans, besides representing a great threat to bees.
“No one was bitten and no one was attacked that I know of,” Sven-Erik Spichiger, an entomologist who directed the eradication of the nest last Saturday, told CBS.
|Photo: Disclosure / WSDA|
The nest was a plastic, the wasps that remained there ended up asphyxiated dead, Spichiger said. The queen wasp was not collected, although it must be inside the nest.
“This is just the beginning of our work to prevent the Asian giant wasp from establishing itself in the Pacific Northwest,” he said, adding that scientists will continue to look for one or two more suspicious nests.
Saturday’s operation began at around 5:30 am with the team wearing protective clothing thick enough to prevent stingers from penetrating and setting up scaffolding around the tree so they could reach the nest opening, which was about 10 meters high.
The team filled the nest with foam and sealed almost all the exits of the nest. Only one remained open, which was where they put a hose to pull all the wasps that were there.
In addition, scientists began beating the tree to force wasps out.
When the wasps stopped leaving the nest, the team injected carbon dioxide into the tree to kill or anesthetize the remnants. They then sealed the tree with spray foam, wrapped it again with cellophane, and finally placed traps nearby to catch any survivors or wasps that may have been outside during the operation and returned to the tree. The work was completed at 9am
“We congratulate the WDSA for eradicating this nest,” said Osama El-Lissy, deputy administrator of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Plant Protection and Quarantine program. “Thanks to its experience and innovation, this nest is no longer a threat to the region’s honey-producing bees.”
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