Trapped Asian Giant Hornet Escapes in Washington
We blogged recently about how the US state of Washington is trying to track the Asian giant hornet back to its nest.
Unfortunately, another attempt to live track one of the hornets has failed, but all is not lost. This time, the tracking device was affixed to the hornet in Whatcom County but the signal was lost.
To keep the Asian giant hornet alive, they fed her strawberry jam while trying to attach the tracker to her with dental floss. According to Sven Spichiger, with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, this worked like a charm.
Then they moved her to an apple tree, and eventually she flew off. Even though scientists continued to watch her, they ultimately lost track of her.
This 3:51-minute video by The Times shows some footage of the Asian giant hornet and the scientists at work.
The scientists were very happy at how well it all worked. Although signal was lost, they consider it a pretty successful day.
The reason these scientists are still optimistic despite losing contact is that they saw the direction she flew in. They believe this will help them to narrow down the exact location of the hornet’s nest.
Spichiger said this female hornet was feistier than the original hornet they captured earlier this month, when they unsuccessfully tried to glue a radio tag to that one.
A University of Washington grad student developed a tiny radio signal tech device that sends out a signal about twice per second. Vikram Iyer explained that this helps track where they are in space.
These Asian giant hornets, dubbed murder hornets because of how they decimate honeybee colonies within hours, are a threat to the honey bee population in the northwest and therefore also to the pollination of certain crops in the area.
The hunt is now on to find the hornets and destroy their colony, since we are now entering the time of year when the hornets will start to prey on honeybees. Also, the hornets are about to start mating and multiplying. The more there are, the harder it will be to eradicate this invasive species.
Spichiger indicated that although it would have been preferable to have located and killed the Asian giant hornets earlier in the season, they still intend to locate and kill as many nests as they can, even if it costs beekeepers some of their hives.
Washington state is ordering extra radio tags with stronger signals that can travel farther.
Scientists say there is a hotline for beekeepers to report kills, but it is only for active kills and for Washington beekeepers.
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