POST Online Media Lite Edition


UK on high alert over dangerous Asian hornets

Christian Fernsby |
There are fears potentially deadly insects could be about to invade the UK after a dramatic rise in numbers in Jersey.

Article continues below

The Asian hornet reached the Channel Islands in 2016 when it was accidentally introduced in France in 2004 and then spread across Europe.

He said of the some 200 reported sightings of the creatures, 85 were Asian hornets while the rest turned out to be wasps and bees.

And just like in wasps and bees, an Asian hornet sting could prove fatal to someone allergic to the venom.

They could go into anaphylactic shock and die, often with minutes.

The beekeeper, with 17 years' experience, said a nest was found and destroyed in Gloucestershire in 2017 and that "UK authorities are on high alert and taking what measures they have to".

Mr Christie also added that Asian Hornets can be a huge threat to honeybees and other wildlife.

Authorities in Jersey say the National Bee Unit will be sending two teams of six UK bee inspectors to Jersey in August.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said there were nine confirmed sightings of Asian hornets in the UK last year - in Lancashire, Cornwall, Hampshire, Surrey and Kent.

But it said none had been seen since 14 October, last year.

Nicola Spence, chief plant health officer at DEFRA said: "By ensuring we are alerted to possible sightings as early as possible, we can take swift and effective action to stamp out the threat posed by Asian hornets.

"While the Asian hornet poses no greater risk to human health than a bee, we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies and other beneficial insects.

"Please continue to look out for any and if you think you've spotted one, report your sighting through the Asian hornet app or online."

The government has launched a free app Asian Hornet Watch to enable people to quickly and easily report possible sightings and send pictures to experts at the National Bee Unit.

What to read next

French expersts' warning as Asian hornets emerge early
Asian hornet: Fowey nest destroyed as two new sightings confirmed in Liskeard and Hull, UK
Asian hornet in UK: Second Fowey nest destroyed