The first live nest of “murder hornets” has been found and swiftly removed by exterminators in the United States.
Asian Giant Hornets are the largest of the species and are capable of killing humans with their toxic venom.
The hornets have been discovered in shipping containers in the US before, but the discovery near Blaine, Washington over the weekend is the first time an active nest has been found in the country.
The insects were vacuumed out from the enormous hive by space-suited pest controllers on Saturday morning, the Mirror reports.
One of the pest controllers was seen holding up the vacuum with the “murder hornets” inside.
The species is an invasive pest and is highly damaging to native bee populations.
The state department continued: “Vacuumed out several #AsianGiantHornets from a tree cavity near Blaine this morning.”
According to experts, the nest was the size of a basketball and was hidden inside the hollow of a tree around two hours north of Seattle.
It’s the first nest to be located after a year of trying to track them down following sightings of the huge flying insects.
Effort began with the trapping of three hornets — and the task of keeping them alive with strawberry jam long enough for the next steps.
Entomologists used dental floss to tie tiny radio tracking devices to their abdomens, reports the New York Post. They were then able to be tracked to their nest.
The creatures are nicknamed murder hornets because of their ability to destroy bee hives in a matter of minutes.
Native to China and other countries, the hornets’ stings kill around a dozen people a year.
Earlier this month, the department of Agriculture showed chilling pictures of three “murder hornets” which alarmed wildlife experts. The menacing trio were all found in the space of days in Washington state.
They can grow to two-and-a-half inches long, and can pose a threat to humans, say ecologists.
One of them was photographed attacking a wasp’s nest, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) said.
Pictures of the fearsome hornets were shared on Facebook, demonstrating their huge size.
Since last year there have been 12 sightings in Washington, WSDA said.