Thursday, 20 Jan 2022

Asian hornet invasion draws closer to UK as killer insects found in Channel

Asian hornets could be on their way to the UK mainland after hundreds were found on a Channel Island for the first time.

A bush on the island of Herm just off Guernsey was found to contain 280 of the killer insects.

Specialist exterminators from the specially formed Guernsey Asian Hornet Team were scrambled to remove it, MailOnline reported.

The creatures have killed people in France and southern Europe, where they have become commonplace since first appearing on the continent in 2004.

Asian hornets have been spotted on islands in the Channel since 2016, but never the north Channel island of Herm.

The killer flying devils' venom is so powerful they can quickly send bite victims into anaphylactic shock.

Then, the bitten person can die within minutes unless they receive immediate medical care.

Guernsey's Asian Hornet Team said they safely removed the medium-sized bush from a bramble bush near Belvoir Beach, Herm.

They were called in after terrified locals reported sightings of the killer creatures.

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An Asian Hornet Strategy coordinator on the island said they were grateful for the tip-off.

Francis Russell told MailOnline he was glad his team were able to remove the menace swiftly and without injury.

Mr Russell said: "Pinpointing a nest is always challenging but this one was found relatively quickly by tracking hornets returning from two different locations back to their single nest.

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"It is a race against time to find and destroy nests before they have raised the next generation of queens, at which point risks this invasive species becoming established on our islands.

"That's a very unwelcome prospect that would devastate our native species and make the work of controlling them in future years much more difficult."

The picturesque island is much closer to France than the mainland UK.

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But the insects successfully made their way from Asia to Europe over the past 20 years.

That suggests the final jump from the Channel Islands to the British mainland could be set to come.

Here's hoping.

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