(Asian giant hornets/Wikipedia)

Canadian and international experts have confirmed that three Asian giant hornets were found in the Nanaimo area in August.

This is the first time the invasive species has been found on Vancouver Island according to the BC Ministry of Agriculture.

Hornets are dormant and unlikely to be seen during the fall or winter, but Asian giant hornets are known to feed on honeybees and can destroy hives in short periods of time.

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For this reason, the Ministry will be assisting beekeepers with surveillance and trapping equipment in the spring in case any more hornets emerge from dormancy.

Asian giant hornets feed on insects only, so anyone who encounters a nest of hornets is advised not to disturb the nest or the hornets, and to leave the area.

These hornets rarely sting humans but may do so if they are disturbed. They inject a larger amount of venom, and therefore the stings can be very painful and cause localized swelling, redness and itching.

British Columbians who think they may have seen one can report findings to the Invasive Species Council of BC at 1 888 933-3722, via the council’s “Report Invasives” mobile phone app, or at: https://bcinvasives.ca/report.

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