Killer Asian hornets could reach 'alarming' record levels this year, expert warns

8 June 2021, 12:46 | Updated: 8 June 2021, 13:02

The hornets have been spotted in Jersey (stock images)
The hornets have been spotted in Jersey (stock images). Picture: Getty
Heart reporter

By Heart reporter

Experts have warned that the rise in the number of Asian hornets in Jersey is "slightly alarming" with 63 sightings this year.

Sightings of killer Asian hornets could reach record levels in this year, experts have warned.

As reported by the Mirror, the number of queens spotted on the Channel Island of Jersey is already close to surpassing the highest total observed in a single year.

To date, a total of 63 queens have been spotted - with 38 seen by members of the public and 25 caught by traps on the island.

The record for highest number of the insect was in 2019, with 69 spotted that year.

The hornets first arrived in Jersey in 2016 (stock image)
The hornets first arrived in Jersey in 2016 (stock image). Picture: Getty

The hornets started appearing in Jersey in 2016.

They have the potential to be devastating to the bee population on the island, as one hornet can eat up to 50 bees a day.

Alastair Christie, Jersey's Asian hornet co-ordinator, described the figure as "slightly alarming" but has urged the public not to panic.

He 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.

The hornets can be lethal to people who are allergic (stock image)
The hornets can be lethal to people who are allergic (stock image). Picture: Getty

"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."

The hornets, which can be lethal to people who are allergic, are recognisable by their darker colour, a yellow/orange band across their lower end, a bright pale-yellow belt at the waist and, yellow lower half legs.

They first arrived in France in 2004 in a shipment of Chinese pottery, and likely made their way to Jersey in produce shipments from France.

There hasn't been any confirmation of the hornets being spotted in the mainland in 2021.

There was a confirmed sighting in Hampshire in 2020, and another in Dorset in 2019.