They may not be anything to worry about in Port Hardy quite yet, but it’s still unsettling.

For the first time ever Asian giant hornets have been found on Vancouver Island. Three of the insects were discovered in the Nanaimo area in August and have now been confirmed to be the hornets.

Asian giant hornets feed on honey bees and can destroy a hive in a short period of time. The Ministry of Agriculture is looking into how it can help beekeepers with surveillance and trapping equipment in the spring in case other hornets emerge or are introduced to the area. They are usually dormant in the fall and winter.

Asian giant hornets do not eat human food, only insects. They’ll also only attack large animals like pets or humans when their nest is disturbed. Unlike other hornets they nest in the ground. Stings are rare but incredibly painful from the larger amount of venom they inject.

They are large, and have noticeably large orange heads and black eyes. Worker hornets are approximately 3.5 cm in length and queens can be up to 4-5 cm in length with a wingspan of 4-7cm.

If you think you’ve seen an Asian giant hornet you’re asked to report it to the Invasive Species Council of BC by calling 1-888-933-3722, or via the council’s “Report Invasives” mobile phone app, or at its website.