A single “murder hornet” was found in Abbotsford, B.C., on Monday and residents and beekeepers are advised to keep on the lookout for more.
The Asian giant hornet — Vespa mandarinia, also nicknamed the murder hornet — was found in the 7000-block of Bradner Road, a rural area with many farms located between the Fraser River and Highway 1.
The discovery was announced by the Ministry of Agriculture in a Tuesday statement.
“Though Asian giant hornet activity declines rapidly as colder temperatures arrive, people are encouraged to report possible findings,” the statement read.
No nests have yet been discovered in the Lower Mainland, the ministry said, but one was found and destroyed in Nanaimo, B.C., in September 2019.
The Asian giant hornet is considered a harmful invasive species that preys on pollinators like honey bees and can wipe out their colonies.
The hornets can reach up to five centimetres in length with a wingspan of four to seven centimetres and are normally found in China, Japan, Thailand and other Asian countries.
The ministry said the hornet’s sting injects a large amount of venom and can be very painful. It may cause swelling, redness and itching.
“However, the hornets are not interested in humans, pets and large animals,” the ministry said. “Asian giant hornets hunt insects for food and will only attack people when their nest is disturbed.”
Provincial apiarist Paul van Westendorp told CBC Radio’s The Early Edition in August that if you accidentally disturb a nest the best thing to do is run and hide in cover such as shrubbery.