Washington State Department of Agriculture staff announced this week that an Asian giant hornet was caught in a trap south of Blaine on July 29, but BC has yet to collect any of the insects.
That’s good news for BC, says provincial apiculture specialist, Paul van Westendorp.
“Our friends in Washington have installed hundreds of traps and have so far only caught one,” he said this week.
This indicates that the more focused trapping effort in BC is not necessarily missing the mark, though the hornets can be fussy when it comes to attractants. Van Westendorp described the possibility of “false negatives,” insofar as the hornets may simply not be drawn to the traps.
However, a high level of vigilance has followed discovery of the massive insect last year at various locations in BC and Washington. Beekeepers are vigilant, given the hornet’s devastating effect on honeybees, meaning any sightings would likely come to the attention of government staff.
Washington expressed surprise at the early apprehension of one of the insects, however. Prime time for hornet sightings is usually August through early fall.
“Trapping a male Asian giant hornet in July initially came as a surprise,” said Sven Spichiger, managing entomologist with the WSDA. “But further examination of the research and consultation with international experts confirmed that a few males can indeed emerge early in the season.”
WSDA has caught two Asian giant hornets this year, and a total of seven overall. This year’s other capture was an unmated queen. All confirmed captures have been in Whatcom County.
With files from Barbara Johnstone Grimmer