A Murder Hornet Escaped. Again

Scientists were trying to track it to its nest
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2020 3:35 AM CDT
A Murder Hornet Escaped. Again
In this Oct. 7, 2020, photo provided by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, a live Asian giant hornet with a tracking device affixed to it sits on an apple in a tree where it was placed, near Blaine, Wash. Washington state officials say they were again unsuccessful at live-tracking an Asian...   (Karla Salp/Washington State Department of Agriculture via AP)

The "murder hornet" hunt is getting desperate—but for the second time, one of the Asian giant hornets escaped after scientists captured it in Washington state. They attached a tracking device to the hornet's body with dental floss and then released it back into the wild, hoping to track it to its nest. But the insect managed to get away by flying into a forest and then darting off; scientists lost the signal at that point, CNN reports. Earlier this year, another live hornet was briefly tracked, but the glue on the tracker didn't dry quickly enough and it fell off, Fox 8 reports.

But the managing entomologist of the Washington State Department of Agriculture says that since an "initial direction" of the hornet's flight was established, scientists met with property owners in the area to get their accounts of seeing the hornets. "So we are starting to narrow down exactly where the hornets' nest is," he says. The hornets, which are the largest in the world and can grow up to 2 inches long, can decimate a honeybee hive within hours, decapitating the bees; that in turn can wreak havoc on local crops. Authorities are rushing to make sure the hornets, which have been sighted at least 18 times since they were first discovered in the state last year, don't get established in Washington. (Read more murder hornets stories.)

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