Plague of killer hornets set to invade UK this September, experts warn

26 August 2020, 10:34 | Updated: 26 August 2020, 10:38

Killer hornets are set to invade Britain this autumn
Killer hornets are set to invade Britain this autumn. Picture: Getty Images

Hornets could be making their way to England over the next few weeks...

Just as we head into spider season, another plague of insects is set to invade the UK in the next few weeks.

Experts have warned that killer hornets are on their way and could destroy our honeybee population

The Asian hornet, which is two inches long and has a three-inch wingspan, can give out a nasty sting and could seriously harm someone who is allergic to their venom.

Due to unseasonably wet weather, this has created the "perfect breeding ground" and there are fears they could swarm to Britain in record numbers.

Hornets could be making their way to the UK
Hornets could be making their way to the UK. Picture: Getty Images

Lynne Ingram, coordinator of Somerset’s Asian hornet action team, told The Sun: “Now is the time to spot the hornets so that their nests can be destroyed before they multiply.

“If you see a hornet take a photo, send it to us and we’ll do the rest.

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"Or use the official Asian hornet watch app and report it.”

So far there have been no sightings of any hornets in Britain, but they could start to arrive from September 7th.

Hornets began spreading through Europe back in 2004 after making it to the south of France inside a freight ship.

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In late 2016, they were spotted in the British Isles on the Channel Island of Jersey, with nests now shifting to southern England.

And the Somerset Beekeepers Association has warned they could play 'havoc' with the UK's bee population.

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Lynne - who is a beekeeper herself - added: "The arrival of the hornet in Britain is especially bad news for bees – a favourite food source – and a single hornet can completely devastate a beehive."

The University of Exeter is currently carrying out research into the impact of Asian hornets on honeybees.

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Behavioural ecologist Dr Peter Kennedy has said: "Asian hornets are anticipated to be a significant mortality factor influencing a broad spectrum of insects, including honeybees, on top of existing stressors (habitat loss, disease, pollution, climate change, etc.) that already impact our beleaguered native pollinator community.

"Worldwide, invasive non-native species are recognised as being a serious threat to biodiversity, and it is consequently important that we encourage the public to be informed, vigilant and proactive in reporting the presence of Asian hornets and other invasive species."

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