"Murder hornets" continue to be an ongoing problem in BC

May 3 2020, 1:44 pm

So-called “Murder Hornets” have captured many people’s attention after the New York Times reported this weekend that they’d made their way to North America.

However, according to BC’s Ministry of Agriculture, the giant hornets have been a problem for months now.

The hornets, whose real name is the Asian giant hornet, were spotted on Vancouver Island back in August of 2019, according to a report published by BC’s Ministry of Agriculture.

“Three large insects found in the Nanaimo area were confirmed by Canadian and international experts as Asian giant hornets,” the report explains, marking the first time they have been discovered on Vancouver Island and in British Columbia.

 

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It was this initial report as well as public reports of three additional hornets in September that led to authorities being able to locate the nest in the ground in the Robin’s Park area on September 18, 2019.

At the instruction of the provincial apiculturist, a provincial government entomologist and a group of fellow local beekeepers were able to destroy the nest using carbon dioxide successfully. They also removed all of the hornets and the nest’s queen.

The report continues that the hornets were preserved for further research to decipher their potential area of origin.

“These Asian giant hornets only nest in the ground, do not seek out human food and feed on insects only,” it explains. “Asian giant hornets are large-headed and can vary in colour from different shades of orange, yellow and brown. They can be up to five centimetres in length, with a wingspan of four to seven centimetres.”

Additionally, in a report issued in March 2020, authorities asked residents along 0 Avenue, from Surrey to Aldergrove, to report any sightings of Asian giant hornets that may come out of their nests in the coming weeks and months.

 

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According to the report, one specimen was located in White Rock in November 2019, and two other specimens were found near Blaine, Washington, in December.

“These findings indicate a probability that nesting hornets are overwintering in the area,” the report describes.

It continues that wooded areas, such as those near the Canada-US border, provide suitable nesting grounds for the hornets.

At the time the report was issued, the provincial apiculturist placed hornet traps in the area. They also provided further information to residents of 0 Avenue surrounding how to make pest-alert notices as well as images and information about Asian giant hornets that explain what actions to take should they encounter one.

If you happen upon a nest, do not disturb it, or the hornets will vacate the area. They are considered to be a “serious honeybee predator” but do not have an interest in humans, pets or livestock.

 

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If a nest is disturbed, the hornets will attack with painful stings, which can be hazardous to your health. If you are stung, similar to bee or wasp stings, reduce inflammation and the spread of the venom by placing an ice cube or cold compact on the affected area.

Do not rub the site of the sting. It will promote the venom to flow to surrounding tissues.

Those who are stung multiple times (10 or more) are more susceptible to developing a toxic or allergic reaction, including lightheadedness or dizziness, and must immediately seek medical attention.

If you believe you may have seen an Asian giant hornet, call the Invasive Species Council of BC at 1-888-933-3722 or report online.