First Official Discovery of Asian Giant Hornet Nest in North America Under Investigation in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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The presence of three Asian Giant Hornets — insects of a dangerous invasive species — was discovered by two separate individuals in the Robins park area of south Nanaimo in British Columbia in mid-August 2019, according to an article published in Nanaimo News Now — a Canadian daily newspaper. The information was officially confirmed in a press release from the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture. By mid-September local bee club members discovered and destroyed an apparent Asian Giant Hornet in-ground nest. The hornets in the nest were destroyed with carbon dioxide and alcohol, but some hornets returned to the nest the following day.

The species was confirmed by Canadian and International experts, according Nanaimo News Now. A CBC article reported that the a provincial apiculturist, a government entomologist, and the Ministry of Agriculture confirmed the identification of Asian Giant Hornets. The confirmation led to considerable concern by the insect authorities, health authorities, and especially beekeepers, that a nest was somewhere nearby.

The British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture confirmed the discovery and destruction of the nest, reporting that 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.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, 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.

The Ministry of Agriculture said this was the first time that Asian Giant Hornets have been confirmed on Vancouver Island and in British Columbia. The public’s reporting of three additional hornets in September 2019 helped in the tracing and locating of the nest.

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.

Because of their large size (maximum length 2 inches, wingspan 2.8 inches), the Asian Giant Hornet sting contains a large volume of venom. Multiple stings can be fatal to humans. In 2013, Asian Giant Hornets (Vespa mandarinia) killed 42 people in China. The deaths were caused not only by anaphylaxis (allergic reaction), but also by organ failure from toxin overload. Patients in critical condition experienced almost bullet hole-sized wounds, and required dialysis treatments in attempts to save their lives. From July to early October in 2013, hornet attacks killed 42 people and injured 1,675 in Shaanxi Province in China.

Beekeepers are especially concerned about invasions of Asian Giant Hornets because a squad of 30 to 40 Asian Giant Hornets can destroy thousands of honeybees in a bee hive in a matter of hours. Their large jaws can easily cut a honeybee in half. They raid beehives, taking the larvae of honeybees, their honey and the bodies of honeybees back to their nest to feed their own larvae.

The Asian Giant Hornet is an ominous sight in flight — almost the size of a bird. With its bright orange plastic-looking head, the Asian Giant Hornet almost looks like a flying bathtub toy with a menacing face. The distinctive hum of the wings or the noise of their wings hitting another object is also a source of terror.

In July 2012, a lone Asian Giant Hornet was possibly spotted in a neighborhood in central Arlington Heights. In British Columbia, authorities will be attempting to locate the source of their invasive Asian Giant Hornets, possibly with DNA analysis. There is speculation that the Vespa mandarinia arrived on ocean shipping freighters. British Columbia has the mildest climate in Canada with temperatures recorded above 32°F even in January.

Coyote Pederson of Brave Wilderness receives a controlled sting by a Japanese Giant Hornet, which is a variation of the Asian Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia) and has also been scientifically known as Vespa mandarinia japonica.


CARDINAL NEWS | Deadly Asian Giant Hornet Spotted in Arlington Heights, Illinois: Not Cicada Killer Wasp

See also …
Nanaimo News Now | Asian giant hornets found in Nanaimo for first time ever

Nanaimo News Now | Asian giant hornet nest located and destroyed in south Nanaimo

CBC | Nest of invasive Asian giant hornets destroyed in Nanaimo

British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture | Three Asian giant hornets found in Nanaimo

British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture | Asian giant hornet nest eradicated in Nanaimo

CNN | Deadly giant hornets kill 42 people in China



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