Asian hornet spotted in UK for first time this year

An Asian hornet has been spotted in the UK for the first time in almost 12 months.

The invasive species can deliver a powerful sting and is potentially devastating to native bee colonies.

The National Bee Unit has confirmed an Asian hornet sighting in the Gosport area of Hampshire, marking the first sighting since October 2019, reports The Mirror.

Nicola Spence, Chief Plant and Bee Health Officer at DEFRA, 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.

“That’s why we are working at speed to locate and investigate any nests in the area following this confirmed sighting.

“While the Asian hornet poses no greater risk to human health than other wasps or hornets, we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies and other beneficial insects.”

How to spot an Asian Hornet (Image: Defra)

Speaking to Mirror Online, Professor Helen Roy, an ecologist at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said: “The Asian hornet is not generally aggressive, although the stings can be painful and a very small number of people might be allergic to the sting.

“As a predatory insect it poses a threat to biodiversity, particularly pollinating insects including honeybees but also wild pollinators.”

If you spot what you think is an Asian hornet, or an Asian hornet nest, do not approach or disturb it.

While the insects are not generally aggressive towards humans, they can attack if they perceive a threat to their nest.

If you suspect you have seen an Asian hornet, report this using the iPhone and Android app ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ or by using Defra’s online report form here.

Alternatively, e-mail alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk.

Ms Spence added: “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.”

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