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A Washington State Department of Agriculture worker holds two dead Asian giant hornets in a photo from October 2020. Photo: Elaine Thompson/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

An Asian giant hornet was found dead near Seattle — the first such sighting in the United States this year, per AP.

Why it matters: The 2-inch-long invasive insects, known as "murder hornets," pose a threat to honeybees and native hornet species, and their extremely painful stings can be deadly to human beings.

What's happening: Entomologists from Washington state and the USDA confirmed a report of a dead Asian giant hornet in Snohomish County north of Seattle.

  • The hornets generated buzz last year after nests were discovered along the Canadian border.

Between the lines: Experts believe the dead hornet was likely left over from the previous year, when agriculture officials in the region went tree to tree trying to vacuum nests.

  • But DNA tests indicate the hornet was unrelated to earlier populations, and it's unclear how it arrived in Snohomish County.

The bottom line: The USDA advises that if you encounter a murder hornet, you should "calmly leave the area."

Go deeper: Sign up for Axios' What's Next newsletter to read more.

Go deeper

Updated 15 mins ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.

Updated 17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker
44 mins ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.