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

Summer Stories Around Town program encourages outdoor reading in Elk Valley

With storywalks and clothesline stories in Fernie and Sparwood, everyone can get reading

School District 5 identifies funding needs in yearly budget report

The SD5 board presented three main projects that need increased funding in the coming years

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Student athletes recognized for outstanding seasons

Fernie Secondary School students got their awards in a drive by ceremony last week

The Elk Valley celebrates Canada Day

Creative socially distant Canada Day festivities were held in both Fernie and Sparwood this week

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Limit police access to lethal weapons in Indigenous communities: Justice Summit

Grassroots-organized National Indigenous Justice Summit was a free-to-attend two-day videoconference

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Most Read