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The Arrival of Giant Hornets to Canada

Posted in Stinging Insects

Will Ontario be Buzzing Soon?

In recent years, the mention of “Japanese Murder Hornets” or northern giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia) has sent shivers down the spines of many, with reports of confirmed hives in Southern British Columbia. As of now, these intimidating insects have not made their way to Ontario, but the question lingers: will they eventually reach the province? And more importantly, what should you do if you encounter one?

The Situation in British Columbia

Confirmed sightings and nests of giant hornets in Southern British Columbia have raised concerns about the potential spread of these aggressive insects. The species, native to East Asia, has garnered attention due to its size, potent sting, and the threat it poses to honeybee populations.

The Potential Spread to Ontario

While there is currently no evidence of giant hornets in Ontario, the spread of invasive species is always a concern. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry remains vigilant, monitoring the situation and preparing for potential incursions. Factors such as climate, habitat suitability, and the insects’ ability to establish colonies could play a role in determining their eventual presence in the region.

What to Do if You Spot a Giant Hornet

If you happen to encounter a giant hornet, it’s important to remain calm and take appropriate precautions. Here are some guidelines.

  • Do Not Provoke or Disturb: Giant hornets are known for their aggressive behavior, especially when their nest is threatened. Do not provoke or disturb them, as this could lead to a defensive attack.
  • Maintain a Safe Distance: Keep a safe distance from the hornet and avoid sudden movements. These insects can be defensive and may attack if they feel threatened.
  • Report the Sighting: If you believe you have spotted a giant hornet, report the sighting to local authorities or pest control agencies. Timely reporting can aid in tracking and managing potential infestations. Link to Ontario’s online reporting form: online reporting form
  • Educate Yourself: Familiarize yourself with the distinguishing features of giant hornets to avoid confusion with other, less harmful species. Knowledge is key to accurate identification.
  • Protective Measures: If you are in an area where giant hornets are known to be present, consider wearing protective clothing, such as long sleeves and pants, to minimize the risk of stings.

Take Appropriate Precautions

While giant hornets have not yet made their way to Ontario, and it is unknown if they could survive our winters, it is still crucial to stay informed and take appropriate precautions. Reporting sightings, educating oneself, and remaining vigilant are essential steps in managing the potential spread of these formidable insects. With continued monitoring and public awareness, efforts can be made to mitigate the impact of Japanese Murder Hornets in new regions.