How experts hunted down murder wasps and destroyed their nests

The cartoon character named after the murder wasp must be a villain. That is exactly that.

When fully grown, it is about 2 inches long, and the giant Asian wasp has a striped body wrapped in a protective shell. Their bodies are black and orange-yellow. Their heads are dominated by large eyes and a terrifying looking mandible. They look like pliers and will be severely hurt if your fingers are pinched between them.

At the other end of the body is a 1/4 inch needle. It doesn’t come off like some bees, so it can be stabbed many times. Shunichi Makino, a researcher at the Japan Forestry and Forestry Research Institute, told National Geographic that it was “stabbed with a bright red needle.”

Stabs are usually just painful, but they can be fatal. In Japan, an estimated 30 to 50 people die each year from wasp stings due to anaphylaxis, cardiac arrest, or multiple organ failure. Wasps use their mouth appendages to slaughter bees that are already under threat of pesticides, habitat destruction, and disease. The homicidal wasp wastes the entire beehive, decapitates the inhabitants, and harvests pupae as food, as it is called the “slaughter stage.” It’s tough, to say the least.

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North American murder wasp

In Washington, bees pollinate raspberries, blueberries, and other crops. As a result, experts were worried when the giant hornet was discovered earlier this year in the northern part of the state. This species was first discovered in Canada’s North America in 2019. It is not clear how they reached the continent.

“It is impossible for them to fly from Asia,” Kyushu University entomologist Takatoshi Ueno told The New York Times. One theory is that they found a way through shipping containers.

Even if they get here, local experts don’t want them to start proliferating. Insecologists in Washington have made extraordinary efforts to hunt down wasp nests in Brain near the Canadian border.

Pursuit and destruction of murder wasps

During the summer, entomologists set traps to start catching the Hornets. I put orange juice and other sweet scented liquids in a plastic bottle. Several insects were found drowning. Scientists then set out a sifted trap to catch the living wasps. Washington state insectologist Chris Looney was finally able to catch a living wasp, and the team was able to glue a tracking device to it.

In late October, Looney and his colleagues followed a tracker’s signal to a wasp nest. I wrapped the whole tree in cellophane to prevent insects from escaping. The Hornets’ long sting meant that a regular beekeeping suit wouldn’t work. Instead, Looney and the rest wore special foam suits. They also wore goggles.

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“I was more worried about the venom that was ejected causing permanent nerve damage to my eyes than being stung,” Looney told the Guardian. “Even an inch and a half insects are pretty intimidating. They are big and noisy, and I know it would hurt very badly if I were stung. They. Motivates me. “

This was the first removal of a giant wasp nest in Asia in the United States, but probably not the last. Scientists are modeling how insects spread. Wasps are large and unpleasant for humans, but insectologists are more concerned about their effects on bees and other pollen maters.

“It’s hard to say how they behave here compared to their original range, but while hornets move south and warm weather can cause colonies to grow, ducks There is a fear that there may be a large bee apiary that may be sitting in the area, “Rooney said.

For more scientific news about insects, read about DNA extracted from insects stored in amber and how fossils found in Brazil discovered the oldest carnivorous dinosaur in history.


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