Giant hornets as big as a £2 coin arrive in UK after heatwave

29 August 2018, 15:03

European hornet

By Emma Gritt

Giant hornets with a sting so venomous it will leave you needing medical treatment have been spotted in the UK.

Giant European hornets as big as £2 coins have been seen in the UK - and it's all because of the heatwave. 

The giant insects, which measure up to 5cm in length, are normally found in mainland Europe, but have flown north after the UK heatwave made conditions perfect for them to live and breed. 

Their sting is worse than a wasp's, but they are less likely to attack - but will swarm at you if their nests or eggs are threatened. 

The European hornets are also one of the only stinging insects who fly around at night time - like moths, they are attracted to the light. 

Read more: Huge spiders 'fattened up during the heatwave' set to invade homes 

The European hornet spotted in the South West of England (Image: SWNS) 

One of the menacing creatures was spotted in Newton Abbot, Devon yesterday by a concerned passerby who was worried it was an aggressive Asian hornet. 

A local insect expert later clarified the insect as being a European variety of the giant stingers. 

Louisa Bartlett from Coombe told Devon Live: "This is, in fact, a European hornet (Vespa crabro), which is part of the wasp family (Vespidae).

"Although they seem big and scary, they are in fact less likely to sting compared to the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris).

"They can range in size from 2-5cm in length and usually nest in holes in trees.

Read more: Horsefly invasion to reach UK with bites causing sores, dizziness and rashes 

"European hornets are known to feed on large insects but can also strip off bark to from trees to access the sap."

Should anyone be stung by one of the big bugs, it's advised that they seek medical attention with possible symptoms including headaches and shortness of breath. 

Other insects putting Brits on edge are the blandford fly, and swarms of flying ants