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B.C. murder hornet remains believed connected with recent Washington infestation

Expert: good chance specimen related to previous find, meaning reduced cause for concern
A Washington State Department of Agriculture worker holds two of the dozens of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a tree in Blaine, Wash., on October 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Elaine Thompson

The remains of a giant hornet have been found in British Columbia, but the province’s bee expert doubts there is any cause for alarm.

Paul van Westendorp says the Asian giant hornet, sometimes known as a “murder hornet,” was found recently on the B.C. side of the border with Washington state, not far from the area in Whatcom County where four giant hornets’ nests were recently located and destroyed.

Van Westendorp says the hornet found in B.C. was roughly 2.3 centimetres, less than half the size of a large mating queen, and it likely originated from one of the destroyed U.S. nests.

The remains of what van Westendorp says was a “severely degraded specimen” has been sent to Ottawa for DNA extraction, which he expects will confirm the hornet is from one of the U.S. nests, which are all interrelated.

He says there will be much more concern If DNA shows the hornet is unrelated to the American nests, because it would increase the chance that the invasive pests are breeding and spreading.

Giant hornets, originally from Asia, are the world’s largest hornets and a small group of them can kill an entire honeybee hive in a matter of hours.

—The Canadian Press

RELATED: After another ‘Murder Hornet’ nest in Whatcom County gets eradicated, are there more?