Japanese hornet in Valley

They are big, nasty and pack one heck of a punch, and one of them has been spotted in the Okanagan.

Japanese hornets have been confirmed in the Lower Mainland earlier this year, but Dawn Landry was stunned to see one in the North Okanagan.

Landry said she was near Parkers Cove on the weekend when the two-inch long hornet landed on her leg.

Fortunately, it flew away without incident which is good because a sting can cause a person to go into anaphylactic shock if they are allergic to the venom.

According to Wikipedia, the venom can still be lethal to people who are not allergic, provided the dose is sufficient. In China, where the hornet can also be found, the conventional wisdom is that people stung more than 10 times need medical help, and emergency treatment if stung more than 30 times. The stings can also cause renal failure.

Thirty to 40 people die in Japan every year after having been stung by bees and wasps - including the Japanese hornet.

Landry said she was sitting outside when the unexpected visitor was spotted.

“I looked it up and it was a Japanese hornet. I compared a picture to what we saw and it definitely was a Japanese hornet,” said Landry. “I have never seen anything like it before.”

Landry said the insect was close to two-inches long with a large stinger.

“You could see the stinger on it. It was about five mm long. It was huge,” she said, adding no one was stung by the winged beast.

“On further research we found if you irritate it, then they are very aggressive. I'm just glad it flew away before we irritated it or we could have been in trouble,” she said.

Landry did report the sighting to the BC invasive species hot line.

Castanet has reached out to the Ministry of the Environment for comment.

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