Killer hornets also known as Asian hornets have reportedly reached record levels in the UK with experts warning the surge is “slightly alarming.”
The meat-eating hornets are responsible for an estimated 30 to 50 deaths every year in Japan, according to the U.S Department of Agriculture.
The Hornets are known to decapitate up to 50 honeybees a day. They can dismantle entire beehives in a matter of hours, killing all inside.
“They’re like something out of a monster cartoon with this huge yellow-orange face,” Susan Cobey, a bee breeder at the Washington State University’s department of entomology, said, when it was it was sighted in the U.S last year
Asian hornets are said to have first arrived in France inside a freight ship in 2004 before they started to spread across Europe. In the UK, they often make their way from the Channel Islands to the British mainland, according to reports.
A record high of 63 hornets have so far been sighted in the UK this year, with only 25 of them trapped, raising concerns of a wider and dangerous spread in the UK and across Europe.
Alastair Christie, Asian hornet coordinator who has served on the Jersey Bee Keepers’ Association’s management committee and was the managing director of Lavender Farm for 17 years, has been tasked with investigating ways to protect the public, the island’s biodiversity and honey bee populations from the impact of the Asian Hornet, Vespa velutina. Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands, between England and France.
Christie said: ‘We are on track to surpass 2019 numbers, but trapping in 2019 was minimal and we are also a lot better at it now.
“So with the increase in trapping and the help from the public it stands to reason that we would find more.
“I am hoping that we have caught a greater proportion of the queens this year and that the number of nests won’t be as high.”
Christie said a team of volunteers will begin to track the hornets which will help them to get a “clearer picture” of the year ahead. He added: “I am optimistic that we are doing a good job of catching the queens.”
UK residents and Islanders are urged to help track the hornets, but are warned against getting too close to the nests but should leave their removal to the experts instead.
Islanders are being asked to check for nests in their sheds, garages and any other outdoor areas. Any cases should be reported via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo if possible.