An Asian giant hornet found in Nanaimo in 2019. (Photo courtesy Conrad Bérubé)

An Asian giant hornet found in Nanaimo in 2019. (Photo courtesy Conrad Bérubé)

B.C. will set more traps to guard against Asian giant hornets

‘Comprehensive surveys’ to be done on Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley

Asian giant hornets are unwelcome on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border and officials and citizen scientists will be trapping and exterminating accordingly.

B.C. and Washington state governments co-hosted a virtual press conference Wednesday to discuss their co-operative efforts to find and eradicate the invasive hornets.

A B.C. ministry of agriculture press release noted that “comprehensive surveys” will take place in Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island and in between White Rock and Aldergrove in the Fraser Valley. Washington announced changes to its trapping efforts and hopes “citizen scientists” will help set up traps baited with orange juice and brown sugar syrup.

Provincial apiculturist Paul van Westendorp said he’s grateful for a pheromone “magic elixir” provided by the Washington State Department of Agriculture that will be used in some traps. There were about 60 traps, baited with orange juice and rice wine, set up in areas close to the U.S. border last year and van Westendorp said a greater number of traps will be set this year “simply because of the increased activity that is taking place in Washington state.”

Last year, six hornet specimens were collected in the Fraser Valley, all found by members of the public, and none were found on Vancouver Island. The province says the Island “could be declared Asian giant hornet-free” if no more of the insects are found there this year.

Van Westendorp said numerous agencies, beekeepers and other members of the public will play a “critical” role in the success of the survey efforts and said the province will be providing more information about trapping.

He said Asian giant hornets, as an apex predator, are not very densely populated in their natural range.

“They will be there and they’re very dangerous when you actually run into them, but the number of them is going to be very limited and that is in fact one of the main reasons we have so much trouble finding these darn nests, because there are so few of them around,” van Westendorp said.

READ ALSO: B.C., Washington state work together to kill Asian giant hornets

Sven-Erik Spichiger, managing entomologist with the WSDA, said the giant hornets found in Nanaimo in 2019 were genetically linked to giant hornets from Japan, whereas the hornets found in Blaine, Wash., were more closely linked to hornets in South Korea. Van Westendorp said that suggests separate introductions of the species has happened and can happen again.

Asian giant hornets have been called ‘murder hornets’ because of their propensity to decapitate honeybees. Van Westendorp said the hornets are hazardous to humans, pets and livestock and not only kill bees, but also wasps and yellow jackets, which could cause unknown impacts on ecosystems.

“When you ask what is the serious threat, even past your dog or heaven forbid your child stumbling into a nest while walking through the woods, having an apiary taken out in … less than a week and the massive expense that a beekeeper would incur and what the ramifications are of having a beekeeper who is trusted by a farmer to come by and perform pollination services the next year, there are some cascading effects to agriculture that are actually really severe,” Spichiger said.

British Columbians can report Asian giant hornet sightings to the Invasive Species Council of B.C. by calling 1-888-933-3722, using the council’s Report Invasives mobile app or visiting http://bcinvasives.ca/take-action/report/.

READ ALSO: Beekeepers in Nanaimo watching out for what are now being called ‘murder hornets’



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

AnimalsEnvironment

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

Just Posted

Photo screen-shot from School District 51’s website
COVID-19 infection confirmed in Boundary School District

Those potentially exposed to the virus have been told to self-isolate, says acting Superintendent

Stock image.
Judge tells Grand Forks man accused of theft to guard his personal property

Edward ‘Joe’ Wright is accused of a break and entering at a flood-damaged property in North Ruckle

Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Greenwood man to stand trial for alleged stabbing

Grand Forks provincial court will set a trial date next month

Grand Forks Mounties look on as a tow truck prepares to haul an SUV involved in a Highway 3 crash near the intersection of Spraggett Road Friday, April 9. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
First responders attend Highway 3 crash in Grand Forks

No one appears to be hurt in the two-vehicle crash which highway stopped traffic in both directions

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

Thursday, Feb. 4: RDKB Chief Engineer Darryl Funk hoists a banner commemorating last year’s championship season by the Bantam House Bruins. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Bantam Bruins honoured at hair-raising banner ceremony at Grand Forks’ Jack Goddard Arena

Asst. coach Mike Tollis said he reluctantly gave in to the team’s victory wish that he cut his pony tale

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

A plane is seen through the window on the tarmac of Vancouver International Airport as the waiting room is empty. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
100+ international travellers who landed in B.C. refused to quarantine

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it issued $3,000 violation tickets to each

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. urges people to stay in their neighbourhoods, discourages out-of-household meet-ups

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there should be no travel, even to the next city over

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox is shown in a 1981. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/CP)
Terry Fox’s legacy of resilience resonates during COVID-19 crisis, says brother

Fred Fox said his brother’s legacy of resilience has taken on renewed resonance as COVID-19 rages on

Most Read