Giant Asian wasps: First nest found and destroyed in the USA
The discovery was made by scientists in the city of Blaine
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Strongly protected teams worked on Saturday to destroy the first nest of so-called killer wasps discovered in the United States. Found in the city of Blaine, close to the Canadian border, the nest is much larger than usual, it is the size of a basketball and had about 100 to 200 wasps.
(The giant Asian wasp captured in July (center), compared to others of the same species – Photo: WSDA / BBC.)
The insects were aspirated from a tree cavity. Special suits worn by the teams prevent the 6mm wasp stings from hurting workers, who also wore special face shields, as the wasps could spit painful poison into their eyes.
But if you are going to travel to the USA or Asia, you need not worry
The tree will be cut to extract newborn wasps and find out if any queen has left the hive, the scientists said. Authorities suspect that more nests may be in the area and will continue to search.
Despite the nickname and exaggeration that has sparked fears in an already gloomy year, the world’s largest wasps kill at most a few dozen people a year in Asian countries, and experts say it is probably far less. Meanwhile, hornets, wasps and bees commonly found in the United States kill an average of 62 people a year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The biggest danger is for bees
The real threat from Asian giant wasps – which are 5 centimeters long – is the devastating attacks on bees, which are already under siege from problems such as mites, diseases, pesticides and food loss.
The invasive insect is usually found in China, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam and other Asian countries. The state of Washington and the Canadian province of British Columbia are the only places where wasps were found on the continent.
The Washington Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has been actively looking for Asian giant wasp nests since the first wasps were captured earlier this year. The first confirmed detection of a giant Asian wasp in Washington was made in December 2019 and the first wasp was arrested in July this year. Several others were later captured, all in Whatcom County.
Asian giant wasps, an invasive pest not native to the United States, are the largest wasps in the world and predators of honey bees and other insects. A small group of Asian giant wasps can kill an entire hive in a matter of hours.
So, at least directly, you don’t have to worry, but if these wasps are able to spread to more regions around the world, the economic and environmental damage can be huge, as this becomes more of a concern as to the much talked about extinction of bees.
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