Asian hornet


A beekeeper is urging the public to report sightings of Asian hornets, which pose a “massive risk to nature”.

Simon Croson from Fulbeck, Lincolnshire, highlighted the invasive species’ potential to harm bee colonies and other pollinators.

The “exotic visitor” had “no natural predators in this country”, Mr Croson added.

The government has also advised vigilance due to the Asian hornet’s lack of natural predators in the UK.

Last year saw a record number of Asian hornet sightings, with the Animal and Plant Health Agency destroying 72 nests across 56 locations.

While most infestations occurred in Kent, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust noted that nests were also eradicated in East Yorkshire.

Mr Croson said: “If left undeterred, maybe in five years time, with the natural progression from the southern counties, they’re going to be a common site and a big threat to all walks of our natural life.”

Colin Butter, an associate professor in bioveterinary science at the University of Lincoln, remarked that Asian hornets find native bees to be “pretty easy prey”.

“This pest is coming and we will have more of them,” he added. “It won’t destroy beekeeping, but it will make life more difficult.”

Although the issue predominantly affects the south coast, the discovery and destruction of two nests in Hull last year “probably means it’s spread a little wider than we’re aware of”, Prof Butter said.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is urging people to report any sightings to aid in swift and effective eradication efforts.

Nicola Spence, Defra’s chief plant and bee health officer, said this would “help us take swift and effective action to stamp out the threat”.

While the Asian hornet poses no greater risk to human health than other wasps or hornets, people are advised not to disturb active nests.

Sightings can be reported via the “Asian Hornet Watch” smartphone app.



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