An Asian giant “murder hornet” has been discovered in Abbotsford, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
The agency issued a press release Tuesday (Nov. 3), asking area beekeepers and residents to report if they spot any of the insects after one was found in the 7000 block of Bradner Road on Monday (Nov. 2).
The ministry says single hornets were found in White Rock and Langley in 2019 and on Zero Avenue in Langley in 2020. A nest has never been found in the Fraser Valley or Lower Mainland.
“Survey efforts in the Fraser Valley in 2020 have focused on surveillance and trap monitoring along Zero Avenue with the support of local beekeepers and other organizations, as well as in Nanaimo, where a nest was located and destroyed in 2019,” the press release states.
In October 2020, Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologists eradicated an Asian giant hornet nest following multiple findings of single hornets in the same area of Blaine.
The Ministry of Agriculture says a sting from an Asian giant hornet can be very painful and cause localized swelling, redness and itching due to the larger amount of venom injected.
“However, the hornets are not interested in humans, pets and large animals. Asian giant hornets hunt insects for food and will only attack people when their nest is disturbed,” the agency says.
Asian giant hornets are large compared to other hornets, with noticeably large orange heads and black eyes. Worker hornets are approximately 3.5 cm in length. Queens can be up to four to five centimetres in length with a wingspan of four to seven centimetres.
Though Asian giant hornet activity declines rapidly as colder temperatures arrive, people are encouraged to report possible findings. This can be done through calling the Invasive Species Council of BC at 1-888-933-3722, via the council’s Report Invasives mobile phone app or at bcinvasives.ca/report.