The B.C. Ministry of Agriculture says three insects found in Nanaimo in August have been confirmed to be Asian giant hornets. (Submitted photo)

Invasive honeybee-eating hornets with toxic sting found on Vancouver Island for first time

Asian giant hornet sting can cause dizziness, says B.C. Ministry of Agriculture

Invasive honeybee-eating hornets with stings that can be toxic have been found on Vancouver Island for the first time, says the B.C. government.

According to a B.C. Ministry of Agriculture press release, three large insects, Asian giant hornets, were found in Nanaimo, on central Vancouver Island, in August. They are well-known to prey on honeybees and are capable of destroying hives in a short time period. However, the hornets are dormant and unlikely to be seen in the autumn and winter months, the press release said.

People who encounter an Asian giant hornet nest are asked not to disturb it, said the ministry.

“Asian giant hornets do not seek out human food and feed on insects only,” the press release said. “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.”

The ministry recommends that people who are stung by the hornet compress ice or a cold pack on the affected area in order to reduce inflammation and stop the venom from spreading. People are asked not to rub the wound, as that will lead to the venom moving to surrounding tissue, the ministry said.

RELATED: Spread of invasive species in Canada costs billions

The press release also warned that people who are stung 10 times or more are at risk of developing toxic or allergic reactions, which can include dizziness. If this occurs, seek immediate medical help, the ministry said.

The ministry is investigating how it can assist beekeepers with surveillance and trapping equipment in the spring, should other hornets emerge from their dormancy or be introduced to the area.

Asian giant hornets are large-headed and can be orange, yellow and brown in colour, said the ministry. Worker hornets are about 3.5 centimetres in length, while queens are known to be four to five cm in length, with a wingspan between four to seven cm, it said.

To find out more about the effects of insect stings, click here.

People who think they’ve come across the hornets can contact the Invasive Species Council of B.C. at 1-888-933-3722, through the council’s Report Invasives mobile phone app or at www.bcinvasives.ca/report.


More from the News Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Three projects on the North Coast awarded funding

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Hagensborg Water District purchases new fire truck; prepares for conversion to CCRD

Approximately $1.3 million of the district’s infrastructure grant has been transferred to the CCRD.

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Most Read