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Washington officials destroy first murder hornet nest found in US

Washington state officials destroyed the first murder hornet nest discovered in the U.S. on Saturday.

Washington State Department of Agriculture authorities dressed in heavy protective suits vacuumed up the Asian giant hornets from their nest that was found in Blaine, Wash., on Friday, The Associated Press reported

The scientists wore the suits to prevent the painful stings and face shields to stop the hornets from spitting venom in their eyes as they vacuumed the hornets into large canisters. 

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The state officials plan to cut down the tree that the hive was located in and look for newborn hornets and see if any queens left the hive. The department plans to hold a news briefing about the nest on Monday, according to the AP.

State officials said they expect there to be more hives of murder hornets nearby. The department has been using dental floss to attach tracking devices to caught hornets in order to find their nests after capturing the first hornet in July. 

Murder hornets, usually found in Asian countries like China, Japan, Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam, kill at most a few dozen people per year, while regularly hornets, wasps and bees kill an average of 62 people per year in the U.S., according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

But these hornets pose a greater threat on honeybees that farmers depend on for pollination and already face challenges such as mites, diseases, pesticides and loss of food.

In North America, murder hornets have only been found in Washington state and the Canadian province of British Columbia.