‘They give me the willies’: scientist who vacuumed murder hornets braces for fight

Chris Looney helped dismantle the first nest of Asian giant hornets in the US. Now he’s preparing for the next step

The eradication of the first nest of Asian giant hornets on US soil somewhat resembled a science fiction depiction of an alien landing site. A crew of government specialists in white, astronaut-like protective suits descended upon the hornet nexus to vanquish it with a futuristic-looking vacuum cleaner, to the relief of onlookers.

The nest of the fearsome invasive insects, notoriously known as “murder hornets”, was found in a tree crevice near Blaine, in Washington state, via a tracking device attached to a previously captured worker hornet. The Washington state department of agriculture (WSDA) confirmed the nest had been successfully removed, with dozens of live captives taken back for inspection.

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