On the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, an Asian giant hornet’s (vespa mandarinia) nest was located in the ground in the Robin’s Park area in south Nanaimo and destroyed.
Following information and suggestions from the provincial apiculturist, a provincial government entomologist and a group of local beekeepers successfully eradicated the nest using carbon dioxide and removed all hornets and the queen.
The hornets are being preserved for further research and testing to determine their potential point of origin. The provincial apiculturist is meeting with the beekeepers and reviewing the information and nest site.
Reports of a second nest in the area are being investigated. British Columbians who think they may have seen an Asian giant hornet can report findings to the Invasive Species Council of BC at 1 888 933-3722, via the council’s “Report Invasives” mobile phone app, or at: https://bcinvasives.ca/report
In August, three large insects found in the Nanaimo area were confirmed by Canadian and international experts as Asian giant hornets. It was the first time they have been confirmed on Vancouver Island and in British Columbia. The public’s reporting of three additional hornets in September helped in the tracing and locating of the nest.
These Asian giant hornets only nest in the ground, do not seek out human food and feed on insects only. 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.
If a nest of hornets is encountered, do not disturb the nest or the hornets and leave the area. Stings are rare but may occur if their nest is disturbed. Due to the larger amount of venom injected, a sting from an Asian giant hornet can be very painful and cause localized swelling, redness and itching.
If people are stung, as with wasp or bee stings, place an ice cube/pack or cold compress on the location to reduce inflammation and the spread of venom. Do not rub the site, as it will cause the venom to spread into the surrounding tissue. People who are stung multiple times (10 or more) have a higher risk of developing toxic or allergic reaction, such as light-headedness or dizziness. People who are stung multiple times or who develop symptoms of toxic or allergic reaction are advised to seek medical attention immediately.
Ministry of Agriculture information bulletin confirming the presence of Asian giant hornets in Nanaimo (Sept. 11, 2019): https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019AGRI0102-001759
To view photos of the Asian giant hornet, and the look-alike species bald-faced hornet, yellow jacket, elm sawfly and northern horntail, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/animal-and-crops/plant-health/pest_alert_asian_hornet.pdf
Visit HealthLink for more information on common insect stings: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/sig44526
And allergies to insect stings: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/rt1285
Invasive Species Council of BC: https://bcinvasives.ca/