So-called 'murder hornet' found, squashed by B.C. woman
VANCOUVER -- A Langley, B.C., woman took no chances when she saw a giant insect with a huge orange head buzzing loudly around her garden earlier this month.
She stepped on and killed the enormous hornet when she spotted it May 15, then she sent a picture to provincial authorities.
The next day, apiculturist Paul van Westendorp collected the dead wasp and confirmed it was an Asian giant hornet – an insect dubbed "murder hornet," because it's known to behead bees while attacking colonies.
"As you can see, this is a large, formidable insect," van Westendorp said while holding up a specimen during an interview with CTV News Wednesday.
Another was found in the Metro Vancouver city of White Rock in November. The latest sightings mean authorities will have to re-think their strategy in eradicating the invasive species.
"Now suddenly we realize we're dealing with a much larger geographical area," Van Westendorp said.
The apex predator gained an infamous reputation online as news spread of its violent methods of attack, and the risk the species can pose to people.
Its venom has caused human deaths in Asia and Europe.
But van Westendorp insisted the likelihood of coming into contact with the wasp is exceedingly low.
"We are not on their menu. We are not in any way attractive to them. When they see you, they tend to avoid you," he said.
The danger is stumbling across a nest accidentally. The Asian giant hornet builds nests underground, and the species is fiercely protective.
Anyone who believes they're about to be stung shouldn't run, because the hornets fly faster than humans can get away on foot.
Authorities recommend diving into a bush or heavily treed area, where branches may confuse the insect.
The Asian giant hornet carries a lot of venom and their stings are nasty.
If stung, the area should not be rubbed, as that can spread the venom. Instead, an ice cube placed on the affected area will bring down inflammation.
Perhaps the greatest risk is to bees. The Asian giant hornet is classified as serious honey bee predator.
Scientists in British Columbia are working with their counterparts in Washington state to rid the area of the insect.
But the hornets likely came here on tankers, which means the region will likely see more of the species.