Virgin Queen Captured in Washington State

virgin queen murder hornet

Two murder hornet queens that escaped last weekend’s vacuuming of their nest in a Washington State tree have been captured. The Washington Department of Agriculture said at least one of the queens is a “virgin,” meaning it was still developing the reproductive system that would allow it to lay eggs and populate a colony.

Entomologists used radio trackers on a hornet to find the Blaine nest and then dispatched a crew in heavy protective equipment to suction as many as they could into plastic tubes. The tree was cut down on Wednesday, and that’s when the queens were found. The scientists plan to remove the section of the tree that contained the nest on Thursday.

The detection of the nest came after a WSDA trapper collected several live Asian giant hornets, also known as murder hornets, on October 21 and 22. The hornets were tracked and followed to a tree in Blaine.

After vacuuming several hornets out of the tree on Saturday, entomologists returned four days later to cut down the nest, revealing two queen hornets, each about two inches long. The queen hornets are either two virgin queens or one virgin queen and an old queen, according to WSDA.