8.6 C
New York
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Home Technology What you need to know about B.C.'s so-called murder hornets

What you need to know about B.C.’s so-called murder hornets


Some people are buzzing with fear over a possible encounter with Asian giant hornets, but B.C.’s top bee expert says fatalities are rare and there are ways to avoid a confrontation in the first place. 

Since the first sighting of the species — sometimes called murder hornets — in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island last year, the hornets have been spotted in Metro Vancouver’s White Rock, the Cowichan Valley south of Nanaimo and some parts of Washington state.

Provincial apiarist Paul van Westendorp says the hornets tend to nest on the ground in wooded areas and that’s where people should be cautious.

“Hornets are [not] going to be flying in clouds around the countryside looking for victims,” said van Westendorp Wednesday on CBC Radio’s The Early Edition, adding that the “amateurish title” murder hornets makes him cringe.

He said the hornets, which can measure about five centimetres in length and have a wingspan the size of a small hummingbird, will likely not pursue people or pets unless a nest is disturbed.

A closeup of an Asian Giant Hornet is seen in an undated Washington State Department of Agriculture picture obtained by Reuters May 4, 2020. Washington State Department of Agriculture/Handout via REUTERS. (Washington State Department of Agriculture/Reuters)

So you disturbed a nest…

Unlike a honey bee colony which has thousands of bees, said van Westendorp, an Asian giant hornet’s nest will have a few hundred dwellers inside. 

If a nest is disturbed, a colony will initially send out one hornet, then more, but only if the intruder remains there.

Van Westendorp advises that if you do inadvertently disturb a nest, it is smart to run.

But, he said, do not run toward a large open space as it makes you more visible to the hornets.

Instead, van Westendorp says hide in any available cover, such as shrubbery, to make it harder for the hornets to find you.

This particular hornet has a “dagger-like stinging apparatus” said van Westendorp and can sting repeatedly without losing it. The venom they release also contains an enzyme that causes the death of body tissue, called necrosis, at the point of contact.

“Don’t touch the wound after you get stung,” said van Westendorp. “Rubbing the site will mobilize venom and irritate surrounding tissue.”

He recommends immobilizing the area that has been stung and putting ice on it immediately to reduce swelling.

Carbon dioxide was used to destroy a nest of Asian giant hornets discovered in south Nanaimo in 2019. (CHEK News)

Rare fatalities

The hornet’s sting has proven fatal in rare cases.

People who have been punctured by the stinger which can be up to 10 millimetres long liken the pain to a red hot pushpin being stabbed into their flesh.

In Asia, a few dozen deaths each year are attributed to the hornet, most often if a nest is disturbed, said van Westerndorp.

Despite this, van Westendorp says that dubbing it the murder hornet is sensationalizing:

“It’s too much of a Hollywood image and that is not the case.”

He says any sighting of an Asian giant hornet should be reported to the Invasive Species Council of B.C. at 1-888-933-3722.



Source link

Today news
Today News 1 runs four of the western GTA’s most influential media websites, offering news, food, lifestyle and entertainment coverage for millions to the Golden Horseshoe and GTA regions. The independently-run, online news source was founded in 2019 and specializes in everything from breaking news to food and restaurant, arts and entertainment and lifestyle coverage.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Alberta ranchers face difficult decisions as drought drags on

Alberta ranchers hit hard during the pandemic last year are now dealing with drought conditions that are devastating vital grazing land and taking both a financial and...

Apple TV+ debuting Broadway’s Come From Away on eve of 9/11 anniversary

Come From Away is landing on Apple TV+ in September. The streaming service says a live filmed version of the Tony-winning musical will...

‘More than just a concert’: Vox Popular records musical performances for upcoming festival

Eight Thunder Bay musicians and bands will get some time in the spotlight at an upcoming media arts festival. The Vox Popular...

Financial regulators IIROC and MFDA to be merged into one

The umbrella organization for Canada's securities regulators says it plans to merge the regulatory bodies that oversee investment dealers and mutual fund dealers...

Recent Comments