Beekeepers John Holubeshen, left, Moufida Holubeshen, Peter Lange and Conrad Berube took down a nest of Asian giant hornets on Wednesday night behind Robins Park in Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)

Nanaimo beekeepers take down nest of invasive giant hornets

One nest eradicated at Nanaimo’s Robins Park, but there are still Asian giant hornets around

Local beekeepers went and disturbed a hornets’ nest last night.

Four people, including members of the Nanaimo Beekeepers Club, eradicated a nest of Asian giant hornets that they located along the creek behind Robins Park in Harewood.

Conrad Berube, local beekeeper, said it was John and Moufida Holubeshen, were provided with information about stings and specimens.

“They had a map of tracking information like that and made some very good guesses as to what the biological requirements of the hornets would be,” Berube said.

They called him up because he has experience with removing yellow jackets’ nests, and along with club president Peter Lange, the four of them bundled up in heavy clothing and took down the colony. A carbon-dioxide fire extinguisher was used to “anaesthetize” the hornets, Berube said.

“We proceeded to remove the wasps basically by the handful, putting them in the alcohol until we got to a point where we could remove the rest, which we did,” he said. “We were pretty sure we got the great bulk of the inhabitants.”

Berube said the group initially hoped it was close to wiping out the hornets, but he said there has now been a report of another nest site close by.

“It may be more than a few nests in the area. We’ll see. The good news is, they seem to be restricted to a small area,” he said.

Berube was stung four times during Wednesday’s operation and said although he’s fine, someone who isn’t used to the venom could swell up considerably. He said aside from the health risks for humans, the hornets eat honeybees that are already being harmed by varroa mites and pesticides.

“Our honeybees are already under siege by a variety of factors…” he said. “A predatory hornet that could take out a colony in a matter of hours would be none too welcome.”

The B.C. Ministry of Agriculture noted in a press release that the hornets are being preserved for further research and testing to try to determine their point of origin. The report of a second nest in the area is being investigated, the government said. Those who come across an Asian giant hornet can call the Invasive Species Council of B.C. at 1-888-933-3722 or visit http://bcinvasives.ca/report.

RELATED: Invasive honeybee-eating hornets with toxic sting found in Nanaimo



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