The B.C. Ministry of Agriculture is asking 0 Avenue residents from Surrey to Aldergrove to be on the lookout for Asian giant hornets. (Contributed photo)

Surrey’s 0 Avenue residents asked to watch for Asian giant hornets

Large honeybee predator spotted in White Rock in November

Residents along 0 Avenue, from Surrey to Aldergrove, are being asked to report any sightings of Asian giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia).

In a news release issued Friday morning (March 20), Ministry of Agriculture officials say the large wasps – first found in B.C. last August, and spotted in White Rock in November – may emerge from their nests in the coming weeks and months.

READ MORE: Invasive honeybee-eating hornets with toxic sting found on Vancouver Island for first time

The invasive species are well-known to prey on honeybees and are capable of destroying hives in a short time period.

In December 2019, two specimens were found near Blaine, Wash., and a single specimen was found in White Rock the month prior, according to the release. The findings, the release adds, indicate a probability that nesting hornets are overwintering in the area.

Wooded habitat, like areas near the Canada-U.S. border, offer suitable hornet nesting grounds. Residents along 0 Avenue may be the first to notice them.

The provincial apiculturist will place hornet traps in the area and distribute pest-alert notices to 0 Avenue residents in the coming weeks, along with information and pictures of the Asian giant hornet and the steps to take if the insect is seen, the release advises.

Asian giant hornets are large compared to other hornets, with noticeably large orange heads and black eyes. Worker hornets are approximately 3.5 cm in length. Queens can be up to 4-5 cm in length with a wingspan of 4-7 cm.

According to the release, the Asian giant hornet is classified as a serious honeybee predator. They hunt insects for food and generally are not interested in humans, pets or livestock. When their nest is disturbed, however, they will attack with painful stings, which can be hazardous to people’s health.

To report a sighting, contact the Invasive Species Council of BC at 1-888-933-3722, via the council’s Report Invasives app or online at https://bcinvasives.ca/report

The Asian giant hornet was first found in British Columbia in August 2019 in Nanaimo. The single nest was located and destroyed.

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