What would you do after kicking a hornet’s nest, literally?
To most people, the answer is run and hide.
But staff of State Grid, China’s state-run power supplier, in the country’s southwestern Chongqing Municipality, decided to not just disturb a hornet’s nest, but also zap the insects with the aid of drones.
Chinese media reported on October 17 that emergency response authorities in Yongchuan, a district of mountainous Chongqing, contacted the local power supplier to remove a giant hornet’s nest high up in a tree.
The nest, perched in the canopy of a tall metasequoia tree, is in the vicinity of a school and residential neighborhoods, posing a threat to nearby residents.
Surrounded by thick foliage of trees, it is hard to reach even by climbing on a scaling ladder.
Firefighters who arrived on the scene decided they would only let the pests loose if water canon were to be used.
Three staff workers from the local power supplier were finally brought in, armed with two drones meant to scorch the nest.
The hexacopters, which were reportedly developed by the company’s smart inspection personnel themselves, were equipped with a fuel tank, an oil pump and a flame-throwing module attached to the bottom of the aircraft.
After identifying the exact location of the nest, staff operated the drones to hover at a designated height and trained the nozzles of their oil pumps on the nest.
After spraying oil at the nest, the drones threw flames multiple times that ignited the nest, killing the bugs inside and reducing their hive to charred remains.
“We have experience dealing with hornet’s nest on electricity cables,” said He Tao, chief engineer with the local power supplier. “After the original nest was burnt, the hornets would cease to build a new one in the same place any longer.”