Agricultural Research Service research entomologist Matt Buffington is part of a new exhibit "Our Places: Connecting People and Nature" at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington DC. The exhibit explores how peoples' experiences with nature inspire them as well as offering visitors a chance to learn about how dedicated scientists and community members work to protect the environment.
Among the objects in "Our Places," is part of the actual Asian giant hornet "Nest Zero," the first place these huge hornets set up housekeeping when they arrived in Washington State from Asia in October 2019. Asian giant hornets are a concern because sometimes they can feed on honey bees, buzzsawing through a colony in minutes, and they deliver extremely painful stings to people, but fortunately only if provoked. To quell their spread, Washington State Department of Agriculture, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), both part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, worked to locate and remove the invasive hornets' nest.