Among my other posts, I’ve talked about bees and how pesticides have affected them and their environment. Today, however, the bees face a new threat, Asian Giant Hornets. The new threat appeared in Washington at the start of May and has only brought devastation to the hives near and in Washington. British Columbia has only seen three hornets in Nanaimo, so the sighting of one should be reported immediately to the contacts below, but before you contact them, look online to see some pictures to confirm and if possible take pictures of it if you see one. They’re the size of a 25 cent quarter, big yellow head with large jaws, with the black and yellow stripes with no fuzz.
A package of what they look like and what to do: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/animal-and-crops/plant-health/pest_alert_asian_hornet.pdf
If these Hornets were only going after honey, the problem would still be big as they kill hives within hours, but if they only went for honey, the threat of bee genocide wouldn’t be as big of a problem. The hornets go after bee larvae, the skin gives them nutrients and they bring back the larvae body for their own larvae to feast on. Queen Hornets can grow 5cm long with the average worker around 4cm. Along with their size comes the stinger, a normal beekeeper suit doesn’t have any protection against their 6mm stingers; so if it’s painful for humans, it’s a death blow for bees, unless you’re allergic, then I suggest steering clear. Along with their stingers are their jaws, used to decapitate whole colonies and carry bee larvae back to their young. If the problem couldn’t get any worse than imagine checking on your hive in the morning and in some cases only three hours later your hive is filled with decapitated and impaled bees in masses around and in the hive.
So, do bees have a chance against these goliath invaders? Well… yes and no. If one to two hornets were to take on a hive, there would still be many deaths but, because of their giant bodies, the hornets can’t withstand high body temperature (even though they come from tropical parts of Asia) the honeybees are able to incase them in a swarm of themselves and overheat the hornets until they die and then discard the hornets bodies. To overheat the hornets the bees have to first surround the hornets, but even that’s a tough feat on its own with the wasps being stronger, bigger and more aggressive; in the video below, “30 hornets versus the 30,000 bees”, the bees did their best to fight them off but even 30,000 of them couldn’t take the 30 wasps out, it proves the point that these wasps will induce a bee genocide. If the bees aren’t able to protect themselves then as people that want vegetables and other produce in the future, we need to keep our little pollinators alive; and here’s how: Wasp bottle traps, easy to make and there are many tutorials online, call 1-888-933-3722 or email them <firstname.lastname@example.org> please read https://bcinvasives.ca/report for more information on how to contact them. They also nest in the ground, so watch your feet.
• As with wasp or bee stings, place an ice cube/pack or cold compress on the location to reduce inflammation and the
spread of venom.
• Don’t rub the site, it will cause the venom to spread into the surrounding tissue.
• If you are stung multiple times or have symptoms of a toxic or allergic reaction; seek medical attention immediately.