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

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

Last year’s flood season stretched from April through early July, as this picture of flooding at Cache Creek park on July 4, 2020 shows. With area snowpacks at slightly above normal, temperatures and rainfall will play a role in determining what this year’s flood season looks like. (Photo credit: Tom Moe)
Snowpacks in area slightly higher than normal as freshet starts

Temperatures and rainfall are critical flood risk factors in coming weeks

The Clinton Annual Ball went ahead in 2020, albeit in a different format and with far fewer guests than usual. (Photo credit: Clinton Annual Ball committee)
Clinton Annual Ball postponed again in 2021, but still carries on

Thanks to some creativity, ball is still the longest continually-held event of its kind in Canada

The 2020 financial statements for Cache Creek show that the village needs to look at either increasing revenues or cutting services in order to maintain a balanced budget. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Cache Creek council advised to increase revenues or cut services

Presentation also shows that continued use of Landfill Legacy Fund for operations is unsustainable

A group of outdoor enthusiasts and heritage buffs learning more about the history of the iconic 1926 Alexandra Bridge during a pre-COVID-19 tour. (Photo credit: Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning)
A group of outdoor enthusiasts and heritage buffs learning more about the history of the iconic 1926 Alexandra Bridge during a pre-COVID-19 tour. (Photo credit: Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning)
Major grant will help refurbish historic Alexandra Bridge near Spuzzum

The 1926 bridge, which last saw vehicle traffic in 1964, is major attraction on Fraser Canyon drive

A sea lion swims past the window of an empty viewing area Vancouver Aquarium is pictured Thursday, September 10, 2020. The Vancouver Aquarium has had to close its doors to the public due to the lack of visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
U.S.-based theme park company buys Vancouver Aquarium

Aquarium had to shut its doors in September due to COVID pandemic

A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm B.C. hospitals: modelling group

There are 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December

A deep cut on a humpback whale is shown in this recent handout photo in the Vancouver area. A conservation organization is warning boaters to be extra careful to prevent further harm to an injured humpback whale swimming in the Vancouver area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Ocean Wise, Vanessa Prigollini *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Boaters urged to use caution around hurt humpback off Vancouver

Ocean Wise says watchers first noticed the wound 3 days ago and believe it was caused by a vessel strike

Ron Rauch and his wife Audrey are photographed at their home in Victoria, Friday, March 5, 2021. Their daughter Lisa Rauch died on Christmas Day 2019 when a tactical officer with the Victoria Police Department shot her in the back of the head with plastic bullets after barricading herself in a room that was on fire. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. families push for changes as special committee examines provincial Police Act

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth acknowledged the need to update the legislation last year

Major-General Dany Fortin, left, looks on as Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The Public Health Agency of Canada has set aside up to $5 billion to pay for COVID-19 vaccines. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada negotiating contracts to secure COVID-19 booster shots for next year: Anand

Most of Canada’s current vaccine suppliers are already testing new versions against variants

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Most Read