- Title: A crash course on how to track, trap and kill 'murder hornets'
- Date: 19th August 2021
- Summary: BLAINE, WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES (AUGUST 18, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English), SVEN SPICHIGER, MANAGING ENTOMOLOGIST, WASHINGTON STATE DEPT. of AGRICULTURE, SAYING: "Any time you get any organism that is not native to an area move in, the consequences are really immeasurable and, unfortunately, we do know this one has some pretty severe consequences to agriculture through its propensity to devour honeybee hives." VARIOUS OF CLASS ATTENDEES TRYING ON PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (SOUNDBITE) (English), JESSICA RENDON, OREGON DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, SAYING: "Very bulky. Bulky, but I guess that's good. You do feel pretty protected since it's all sealed up pretty well."
- Embargoed: 2nd September 2021 23:25
- Keywords: Asian giant hornets Department of Agriculture Oregon Washington state eradicate murder hornets track trap
- Location: BLAINE, WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES
- City: BLAINE, WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Environment,Nature/Wildlife,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA004EQY26O7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Just days after the first Asian giant hornet sighting of the year, state Department of Agriculture employees from Washington and Oregon gathered in an open air class room just a few miles south of the Canadian border on Wednesday (August 18) to learn how to trap, track and eradicate the invasive species.
The so-called 'murder hornets', which can grow to two inches in length and were first trapped last summer, can have a devastating impact on native bee and wasp populations.
Once spotted, the hornet must be tracked to its nest, so that its queen and other hornets can be destroyed, ideally before reproducing. It's a process in three parts, according to Chris Looney, an entomologist with Washington State's Department of Agriculture.
"Our entire hornet program hinges on three main bits. Finding them first. So that's using our traps and reports from people to locate them. Tagging them with a radio transmitter so that we can follow them back to their nest, which are hidden away in dense brush in the deep forest. And then the third one is eradicating that nest," he said.
Thousands of traps baited with orange juice or jam, are hung in trees along likely hornet flightpaths. When a hornet is captured it is fitted with a radio transmitter and released, in the hope it can be followed back to its nest.
Just a day before the training course, one of the deadly hornets was trapped near where a nest had been destroyed last year, and then released to be followed.
Tracking a radio transmitter-tagged hornet often involves losing and re-finding a signal, getting closer and closer to the nest site, until it can be identified and plans put in place for its destruction.
When a nest of Asian giant hornets is confirmed by thermal imaging to be in a tree, the tree is wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent escapes while a piece of wood is banged against the trunk and the disturbed vacuumed hornets out.
As the Asian giant hornet starts to emerge from its nests in preparation for its reproductive season, the preparations to track and destroy it continue, in the hope that it can be prevented from gaining a foothold and threatening honeybees and agriculture.
"I think my biggest fear for this year is that there will be lots of nests out in our county and we just don't know where they are, that's the biggest problem, is nests going undetected. So that's why it's so important for the public to continue telling us when they think they see one, even if it turns out it's not true. And why it's so important for us to hang crazy bottles of orange juice everywhere," Looney said.
(Production: Tim Exton, Jane Ross)
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