Murder hornets: Destroyed nest had potentially 200 queens

The first nest of Asian giant hornets, commonly known as murder hornets, discovered in the U.S. last month had the potential to spawn nearly 200 colonies, insect experts say.

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CBS News reported the nest that was found and destroyed in Washington state had about 500 live hornets in various development stages, officials said.

Of the 500 specimens, there were almost 200 queens that could have started their own nests, CBS News reported.

While the nest was destroyed, entomologists said they can’t be sure other queens had not escaped before the nest was destroyed, BBC News reported.

Scientists were able to capture a few hornets, attached radio trackers to them, then follow the insects to the nest in a tree in Whatcom County.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture says it will trap hornets for at least three more years. The first murder hornet was found last year, CBS News reported.

The Asian giant hornet poses little threat to humans but can spit venom and sting people. The bigger threat is that it can kill an entire colony of bees in hours, BBC News reported.