The Asian giant hornet, commonly known as the murder hornet, is believed to have crossed the Canada-US border from a colony in Blaine, Washington. Provincial insect specialists and B.C.’s agricultural ministry are hunting for this species. The specific insect and some others were already caught and tagged by Washington agriculture and they hope to track it back at the nest.
Paul van Westendorp, B.C.’s top apiculturist said “They managed to tag one of these hornets and this lovely lady flew across the line into Canada,… And so, that’s why we have been rummaging around in that particular habitat where we think a nest could be placed.” Van Westendorp’s team has been scouting out along Zero Avenue between 216 Street and 230 Street in Langley.
The Asian giant hornet is an invasive species and can grow up to five times the size of a honey bee. Their stinger is also about half a centimetre long, and if a human were to be attacked by a swarm of these insects, it could be fatal. The real issue is the threat the insect poses to the native bee and wasp populations. Van Westondorp explained, “If those wasp populations are going to be impacted by this bully, called the Asian giant hornet, we are going to have ecological disruption.”
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