Public warned as 'murder hornets' that chew through skin and kills with one sting arrive in the British Isles

13 May 2020, 11:10 | Updated: 13 May 2020, 18:35

The 'murder hornet' can kill in just one sting
The 'murder hornet' can kill in just one sting. Picture: Animal and Plant Health Agency
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

'Murder hornets' have been spotted in the British Isles, and this is what you need to watch out for.

Experts are warning the public over 'murder hornets' which have arrived in the British Isles this year.

The hornets, which can chew through human skin and can kill with one sting, were first reported to have been seen in Guernsey in April.

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Entomologist Dr Samual Ramset told WUSA that he has been "sounding the alarm" about these insects for months.

He explains that these hornets has very sharp and large mandibles which are attached to their muscles, allowing them to chew through a lot of different fabrics.

He said: "They can chew through skin, and they also have a really long stinger."

The hornets originate from Japan, where it is said they kill up to 50 people per year.

Dr Samual Ramset said: “That is a large number because most stinging insects that we deal with on a regular basis inject a much smaller amount of venom.”

The sting from the 'murder hornet' can destroy human calls and cause "excruciating pain".

This week, a 54-year-old man in Spain died after being stung in the eyebrow by the dangerous hornet.

The unnamed man was said to be dealing with a nest near his home when the sting happened.

Now the hornets have arrived in the British Isles, experts are telling people to report sightings.

Nicola Spence, Chief Plant Health Officer, 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 Asian hornets and if you think you’ve spotted one, report your sighting through the Asian hornet app or online.”

People have been told to look out for hornets with dark brown or black velvety bodies, ones with yellow or orange bands on the fourth segment of their abdomen, those with yellow tipped legs, those that are smaller than the native European hornet and those that are not active at night.

You can report a sighting of the Asian hornet by emailing alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk.

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