A nest of invasive Asian giant hornets was located and destroyed by local beekeepers in Nanaimo on Wednesday evening.

The nest, which was located in the ground in the Robins Park area, was destroyed using carbon dioxide. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, all hornets and the nest's queen have been removed.

Some hornets are being preserved for further research and testing, which could explain where the predatory insects came from.

A provincial apiculturist is meeting with the Nanaimo Beekeepers Club, the group that found the nest, to examine the nest site.

While one nest has been destroyed, the Ministry of Agriculture says that they are investigating reports of a second nest in the same area.

The province asks that people keep an eye out for the ground-based nests and to report any potential sightings of the giant hornets to the Invasive Species Council of BC at 1-888-933-3722 or through the mobile phone app, Report Invasives.

In August, three Asian giant hornets were discovered in the Nanaimo area. Their appearance was the first time that the invasive species had ever made its way to B.C.

By September, islanders had spotted three additional hornets, which the province says helped beekeepers track the location of the nest.

The hornets make their nests in the ground and not in trees or buildings. If people stumble upon a nest, officials recommend that they avoid it and leave the area immediately.

While Asian giant hornet stings are rare they are considered very painful and the large volume of venom they carry can cause localized swelling, redness and itchiness.

If stung, the province recommends that people treat it as they would a regular bee or wasp sting by placing an ice pack or cold compress on the sting to reduce inflammation and the spread of venom. Avoid rubbing the sting as it can cause the venom to spread into surrounding tissue.

The appearance of the hornets has sparked concern across the province, as the five-centimetre insects prey on honeybees and can destroy a beehive in a short amount of time.