A giant “murder hornet” has been confirmed to have been spotted just over an hour drive away from Vancouver in Bellingham, Washington.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), revealed that the insect was found on a porch and reported to agr.wa.gov/hornets. State and federal labs then confirmed that the specimen was, in fact, a giant hornet.
This latest sighting is more than 24 kilometres from the next closest confirmed sighting in Custer, Washington.
“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.
While the hornets have attacked and destroyed honeybee hives, they are not known to impact other insects.
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According to the WSDA, “a few hornets can destroy a hive in a matter of hours. The hornets enter a ‘slaughter phase’ where they kill bees by decapitating them. They then defend the hive as their own, taking the brood to feed their own young.”
So while you’re not likely to see Asian giant hornets themselves, you may see the aftermath of an attack: piles of dead bees, most of them headless.
While the giant hornets aren’t known to deliberately attack humans, they may do so if a nest is disturbed. The hornets will attack with painful stings, which can be hazardous to your health. If you are stung, 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; doing so will promote the venom to flow to surrounding tissues.
Those who are stung 10 or more times are more susceptible to developing a toxic or allergic reaction, including lightheadedness or dizziness, and must immediately seek medical attention.
With files from Emily Rumball and Alyssa Therrien