“They give me the willies,” said Washington state scientist tasked with capturing murder hornets

A scientist from the state of Washington who was carrying out the difficult task of capturing a nest of murder hornets stated that the job “gave him the willies”.

Chris Looney, an entomologist from the Washington State Department of Agriculture told The Guardian, “They are pretty intimidating, even for an inch-and-a-half insect. They are big and loud and I know it would hurt very badly if I get stung. They give me the willies.”

Of course, Looney was dressed in a protective suit when he, along with his colleagues, vacuumed the insects from a tree cavity in Blaine, Washington. However, he was still quite afraid that they would spit dangerous venom at him.

He added, “I was more worried about getting permanent nerve damage in the eye from the squirted venom than being stung”.

Still, neither Looney nor any of his colleagues were hurt as they captured the first nest of hornets in the country. It was too cold for them so they were very quiet and between that and all the protective gear, everyone got out of it safely.

Despite being nervous about the entire operation, Looney admitted that being attacked by one should be quite “low in the anxiety meter”.

The hornets are a bigger threat to the honeybees that are necessary for farmers to pollinate crops than they are to humans. Murder hornets are capable of destroying a colony of honeybees within very few hours. They decapitate the honeybees and feed their bodies to their young.

Looney was afraid of the spread of the hornets throughout the country, setting up nests in several places as they went, and said things could go badly if they fail. They will persevere until the money runs out.

He added, “It’s hard to say how they will behave here compared to their native range, but the fear is that there are large apiaries of bees that could be sitting ducks, while as the hornets move south to warmer weather their colonies could grow larger.”

His work was to try to make sure that this did not happen.

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