Asian wasps – or Vespa velutina – are known to behead up to 50 bees a day, dragging their prey bodies back to their nests. This in turn affects pollination of plants and exterminators are working to remove species from the UK.
This week, invasive species were spotted at Highcliffe near Christchurch in Dorset.
Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs officials discovered the nest after tracking the flight path of individual wasps.
The trackers remain in Christchurch, where they are setting traps and continuing to search for nests after two more dangerous insects were also spotted in the area.
A nest was also recently destroyed in Jersey, and experts said there was a 20-fold increase in wasp queens in the area.
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To get rid of an insect nest, the exterminators traveled to Jersey, wore protective clothing, and used extendable poles to inject pesticides inside.
In 2019 alone, 65 nests were destroyed on the Channel Islands.
There have been 17 individual wasp sightings in the UK since 2016.
Mark White, Southeast Asian Hornet Action Team coordinator, said: “The job of finding these nests can take a day or three weeks. We simply do not know.
The wasps then spread north, with 55 nests of the dangerous species destroyed in the Anglo-Norman Islands in 2018.
Each nest produces about 200 to 300 virgin queens.
Ivor Kemp of the East Dorset Be Keepers Association said: "We are asking all our members to take proactive action now.
“At the moment, wasps are extremely interested in the ivy that is now in the season.
“If people have ivy in their garden, they should pay close attention and watch what is flying around them.
“Members can set up monitoring traps to capture them and track their nest.
"We strongly advise that action be taken everywhere."
He added: "There are huge risks associated with the Asian wasps that were demonstrated in France, where they devastated the bee population."
How to Identify Asian Hornets
According to the British Beekeepers Association, this is how an Asian wasp is identified
- Velutine Wasp queens are up to an inch long; while workers are slightly below that (slightly smaller than the native European wasp Crabro wasp)
- Predominantly black body, except for the 4th abdominal segment, which is a yellow band located at the back
- It has characteristic yellow legs that explain why it is often called a yellow-legged wasp.
- The face is orange with two eyes composed of brownish red.
- Velutine Wasp is a kind of daily flight that, unlike the European Wasp, ceases activity at dusk
Are Asian hornets dangerous to humans?
Asian wasps can cause a bee-like sting and will only cause death or serious harm to humans if they are allergic to the poison.
Plant protection director Nicola Spence said: “By ensuring that we are alerted to possible sightings as soon as possible, we can take swift and effective measures to eliminate the threat posed by Asian wasps.
“Although the Asian bumblebee poses no greater risk to human health than a bee, we recognize the damage it can cause to bee colonies and other beneficial insects.
"Please keep an eye out for any Asian wasps and if you think you have seen one, report your sighting through the Asian Wasp app or online."
You can report a sighting of an Asian wasp on here.