By Grace McCarthy
The Northern Light 

Asian giant hornet nest will be shown at Lynden fair before heading to Smithsonian

Birch Bay beekeeper purchases first Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S. to further education


Last updated 8/5/2021 at 1:02pm

Grace McCarthy

Birch Bay beekeeper Ruthie Danielsen purchased the first Asian giant hornet nest found in the U.S. to help advance understanding of the invasive species.

What started with a Facebook message will end in the Smithsonian.

"Hi, I'm Ruthie Danielsen, the beekeeper who organized the trapping for the Asian giant hornet for Whatcom County beekeepers. I understand you have the hornets and the nest discovered on your property and I was wondering what you were selling them for. If you're interested in selling them, could you give me a call?"

Courtesy of Ruthie Danielsen

One of the six combs in the first Asian giant hornet nest found in the U.S. The nest will go to the Lynden fair before being displayed in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

That's how the first Facebook message went last February. Within two weeks, Danielsen was delicately packing the first nest found in the U.S. in the freezer of her Birch Bay home.

Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) retrieved the hornet nest the next day. Six months of research later, the nest will educate county residents at next week's Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden before reaching its final destination – the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Educating the public to help win the war against the hornet – first at home and then worldwide – motivated Danielsen's acquisition.

"It's nest zero," Danielsen said. "That's the kind of thing you have in the Smithsonian, whether it's a really big battle or the first woolly mammoth tusk."

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