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

‘We thought it was an earthquake,’ homeowners okay after tree falls

Mature tree falls on roof of Victoria Avenue house

Hydro pole fire closes portion of Metchosin Road in Colwood

Motorists are advised to avoid the area of Metchosin Road near Royal Bay

Saanich roads doused in more than 300 tonnes of salt during snowstorm

Crews cleared roads around the clock during the mid-January storm

Strong winds expected in Greater Victoria Friday evening

Winds are expected to ease Saturday morning

VIDEO: The Victoria byelection leads a selection of today’s news stories

A selection of Greater Victoria top stories for Jan. 17

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

POLL: Has the recent snow had an impact on your daily life?

Old Man Winter had Greater Victoria in his icy grip this week.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Most Read