State entomologists have won the opening battle against murder hornets in Washington, successfully removing the first nest discovered in the US. Two days after it was discovered in a cavity of a tree near Blaine, the nest was shut down and the hornets removed, CNN reports. The nest held between 100 and 200 hornets. "Got 'em," the state's Department of Agriculture tweeted. Crews tracked down the nest after weeks of searching. The hornets are less threatening to humans than they sound; the CDC says bees, wasps and run-of-the-mill hornets kill more Americans each year than murder hornets kill people in Asia, where they're usually found.
On Saturday, the team, fully covered in protective gear, "vacuumed numerous specimens out of the nest," an agency statement said. The thick outfits protected the crew from being stung, per the AP, and face shields guarded their eyes against the hornets' painful venom. The first Asian giant hornet in the state was caught in July. The property owner gave the state permission to take the tree out, which turned out to not be necessary to remove the nest. But it will be cut down anyway to remove newborn hornets and see if any queens have left the hive. The department promised more details about the operation this week. (Read more murder hornets stories.)