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

Marchers supporting Indian farmers rallied in Surrey last month, from Bear Creek Park to Holland Park along King George Boulevard. (File photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey MP says mayor’s motion to support Indian farmers is his to make

“He has his own sovereignty, right,” Sukh Dhaliwal says

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions against new model; BCSS and its board in favour

Researchers say residents should leave sleeping bats alone while they exit hibernation. (Cathy Koot photo)
Spring ‘signal’ brings White Rock, Surrey bats out of hibernation

Community Bat Programs of BC says it’s best to leave sleeping bats alone

(Photo: Creative Outlet)
YOUR MONEY: Tax tips for a complicated tax season involving CERB and more

With April 30 tax deadline, ‘it is important to understand the tax implications (benefits) will have’

The Delta Police Department’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Unit: (from left) Const. Joel Thirsk, analyst Jody Johnson and Staff Sgt. Sukh Sidhu. (Delta Police Department photo)
Delta police respond to rising number of hate crimes

Police have received 15 reports so far in 2021, compared to 12 in all of 2020

A woman 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. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue were conducting training operations at Gold Creek Falls when a firefighter broke their leg. (Eileen Robinson photo - Special to The News)
Firefighter suffers broken leg during swift water rescue practice in Golden Ears park

A training exercise at Maple Ridge waterfall on Wedesday results in mishap

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Most Read