The B.C. Government, in collaboration with the State of Washington and U.S. federal agencies, is making plans to eradicate Asian giant hornets in the Pacific Northwest.
On Wednesday, the government unveiled plans specifically targeting the giant hornets, which are considered invasive pests that threaten pollinators.
The joint effort between the neighbouring countries focuses on tracking, trapping, and eradicating any Asian giant hornets that are found.
More specifically, in British Columbia, the 2021 Asian giant hornet surveillance program will include traps in areas where there were previous findings, as well as continued outreach and networking with B.C. beekeepers, local governments and partner agencies in those areas.
The 2021 approach in B.C. will build on last year’s efforts, according to the government.
Comprehensive surveys will be carried out in Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley, as well as from White Rock to Aldergrove in the Fraser Valley on the mainland.
Six hornet specimens were collected in the Fraser Valley through public reporting over the course of last year.
No sightings or collection of Asian giant hornets, however, were reported on Vancouver Island in 2020. This means that if Vancouver Island has no reports of specimens in 2021, it could be declared Asian giant hornet-free.
Washington state’s plans are similar to last year’s, including a strong emphasis on public outreach, reporting and trapping.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) will continue to use orange juice and rice cooking wine in traps. Citizen scientists will have the option of using either orange juice or a brown sugar-based bait.
WSDA’s trapping will remain focused on areas in Whatcom County where Asian giant hornets were detected in 2019 and 2020. Residents in Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, Island, Jefferson and Clallam counties are especially encouraged to participate in citizen scientist trapping beginning in July 2021.
Reports from the public have been crucial for locating Asian giant hornets. Last year, half of the confirmed reports in Washington state and all of the confirmed reports in British Columbia were from members of the public.
British Columbians who think they may have seen an Asian giant hornet can report their findings to the Invasive Species Council of BC, by calling 1-888-933-3722.