First murder hornet nest in U.S. found in Washington state

First murder hornet nest in U.S. found in Washington state

The first nest of the so-called murder hornet was discovered in Washington state this week, officials said.

Poor weather conditions Friday delayed plans to destroy the nest, which was found in Blaine, a city north of Seattle.

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The nest was found by a Washington state Agriculture Department worker after two of the insects were found in a trap Wednesday. Two more hornets were captured Thursday. Scientists used dental floss to attach a tiny tracker to one of the insects, which led them to the nest in a tree on private property. The property owner gave permission for officials to remove the nest and tree if needed.

Officials have been searching for nests since the first of the large hornets were captured earlier this year. The first hornet detected in the U.S. was in Blaine, Washington, in December. Another was found in July. About 20 have been found since.

The hornets are nearly 2 inches long and deliver a painful sting to humans. The invasive insect can decimate a hive of honeybees, which are already in decline from threats including disease, pesticides and loss of food.

While concern mounted over the heavily hyped murder hornets this year, they typically only kill a few dozen people each year in Asian countries such as China, Japan and Thailand, where they are more prevalent. The hornets, wasps and bees found throughout the United States typically kill more than 60 people a year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.